EAST PROVIDENCE —The man suspected of leaving a dog in deplorable health at the front door of the R.I. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sometime Monday afternoon has been arrested by East Providence police, Lt. Michael David confirmed Wednesday.
Carlos Alvarez, 46, of Rehoboth, turned himself in at the East Providence Police Department late Wednesday morning, then was asked to meet with Dr. E.J. Finocchio, RISPCA President.
He apparently reported to police headquarters with his fiancee, and cried on a few occasions, understanding he should have provided more significant care to the dog, RISPCA Cruelty Investigator Joe Warzycha said.
Police charged the suspect with unnecessary cruelty to an animal and abandonment of an infirm animal, a misdemeanor in Rhode Island. He may face another count of the latter.
“Someone came forward after the story was placed in the media (Tuesday night and Wednesday),” David stated. “A person called and said he had information as to the identification of the owner. That led us to Mr. Alvarez.
“We had been investigating the case jointly with the SPCA, and that information led us to believe Alvarez was someone we wanted to talk to,” he added. “After his arrest, he was issued a summons to appear at Sixth District Court (in Providence) on Aug. 9 … He met with Dr. Finocchio, and he did show remorse.”
He also indicated Rehoboth police had begun investigating if the suspect had committed similar crimes in that town. Alvarez could face additional charges based on those results.
According to Finocchio, the owner had left the dog — an approximate seven-year-old male terrier-poodle mix — at the SPCA on Amaral St. sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 5:41 p.m., Monday.
He explained the emaciated canine had been found by a woman who had stopped by the building on the Fourth of July to identify the SPCA's regular business hours. When she observed his condition, she called police.
“Indy,” as Finocchio nicknamed him because he had been found on Independence Day, immediately was sent to the Bay State Veterinary Emergency Services in Swansea, where Dr. Kristi Thomas treated the animal for horrifying wounds caused by serious matting.
“He weighed 12 pounds, and a like healthy dog should way about 30,” Finocchio said Tuesday. “He's heartworm-positive and has Lyme Disease. He's got wounds that are absolutely disgusting on three legs.”
He also stated his tendons, ligaments and bones had been visible, and that his nails were so long, they had grown into his paw pads, puncturing them.
“He was so matted, both of his hind legs were encased in one huge mat, so he couldn't stand up,” Finocchio noted. “He had been in that mat for such a long time, when it was removed, his leg muscles, ligaments and tendons were contracted.”
The vet did say “Indy” would walk again, but not until it had undergone weeks of physical therapy. He believed the dog had been neglected for a minimum of six months.
“This is torture,” Finocchio said Tuesday. “This is sustained pain and suffering inflicted on an innocent animal.”