South Florida man charged in animal cruelty case involving hundreds of emaciated, sick farm animals

Published: Apr. 30, 2019 at 4:09 PM EDT
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April 30, 2019

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A South Florida man is facing more than 60 counts of animal cruelty and animal abandonment charges after police found hundreds of farm animals living in horrible conditions on a Redland property.

Police were first called to the five acre home at 26700 SW 182nd Avenue in late December, 2018 for a dispute between the property owner, Dvir Dehry, and a tenant, Earl Miller.

Miller is identified as the animal caretaker at the time and lived on the property; according to court documents and Dehry is the owner of the property and owner of all of the animals.

On that late December day, Miller asked police to come to the property to view the conditions of the animals.

Police found “hundreds of domestic farm animals in a wooded area with a small clearing. There was no fencing or pens, just the perimeter fence of the property. The animals huddled under the sole shelter, a large roof supported by poles. Centered under the roof was a wire cage filled chickens and guinea fowl. The cage extended over a foot below ground, making it susceptible to flooding,” states the arrest affidavit. In addition, 80-percent of the small clearing was covered with sharp coral rock. The remaining was hard packed dirt. Feces and urine coated all surfaces. The animals had no bedding or soft places to rest.”

About half of the animals were goats and sheep. There were also horses, donkeys, miniature horses, cows, swine, emus, llamas, alpacas and many species of fowl including turkeys, geese, ducks, chicken and guineas.

“Small wading pools had small amounts of dirty, stagnant water. A moat on the property was filled with stagnant green water,” says the warrant.

A livestock trailer contained hay but only the larger animals could reach it. The smaller animals could not reach the feed.

“Many animals showed clear signs of physical distress,” according to the warrant. Some goats had “trouble walking due to hoof rot,” and other “animals had visible hip, rib and back bones protruding.”

The warrant also says all of the animals were “unshorn with full winter coats that were matted and dirty and so thick, the animals could not properly cool themselves.” In addition, “Bones from decomposed animals were visible around the property.”

In early January, a warrant for the seizure of the animals was granted and more than 200 animals were removed from the property.

“All animals seized were unable to bare weight on at least one leg, or were emaciated and judged to be in immediate danger of dying from starvation,” according to the warrant.

Four of the animals had to be euthanized and one llama died due to starvation.

“Sixty required extensive medical treatment for conditions such as infections, hoof rot, swollen limbs and joints, puncture wounds, hernias, overgrown feet, hoof abscesses, raw and bleeding claw, conjunctivitis and other injuries and infections. Four miniature horses, two horse and ten donkeys required immediate foot and dental care.”

Among the more than 200 animals seized, only two males had been altered. “The vast majority of the females were pregnant or had recently given birth.”

Since their rescue, more than 50 of those female animals have given birth while in the care of Miami-Dade County and the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

When questioned, Dehry told authorities, “He would not pay for veterinary care when he could purchase a new animal for less money.” He claims the vet would just tell him to put the animal down and “he felt it was better to leave the animal untreated.”

Miller told authorities he was allowed to live on the property in a trailer in exchange for feeding the animals but when he advised Dehry about the need for medical care for the animals, no medical care was provided.

Dehry was taken into custody Tuesday and charged with 20 Counts of Animal Cruelty, 42 Counts of Abandonment of Animals without Food and Shelter among other charges.

Bond was set at $420,000.