January 12, 2024
RIVERHEAD MAN ARRESTED FOR SHOOTING DOGS IN THE HEAD WITH A RIFLE
Carlos Lauro Allegedly Slaughtered Various Other Animals on His Property
(SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney today announced the arrest of Carlos Lauro, 76, of Riverhead, who is accused of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals and other related charges for allegedly fatally shooting two German Shepherds with a rifle.
“This is a particularly horrific example of cruelty,” said District Attorney Tierney. “While we unfortunately could not rescue all of the animal victims that our investigators found on this defendant’s property, we will seek justice for them.”
“Mr. Lauro is repeatedly the subject of various complaints to the Town regarding the condition of and activities at his Sound Avenue property. Responses to his property by Town Code Enforcement officials have revealed and led to prosecutions by the Riverhead Town Attorney’s Office for illegal animal sales, attempts to operate an illegal slaughterhouse, dilapidated and illegal structures, loose farm animals, and general property maintenance,” said Erik C. Howard, Town of Riverhead Attorney. “The Riverhead Town Attorney’s Office applauds the Suffolk County District Attorney’s prosecution of Mr. Lauro and is prepared to assist in any way necessary to secure a conviction for Mr. Lauro’s reprehensible conduct and wanton disregard for the life of a companion animal.”
“Animals, whether dogs or goats, sheep or chickens experience terror and fight for their lives just as we would when faced with the prospect of slaughter, yet for the animals at this illegal backyard slaughter operation, the experience was made even more horrific, with sick and injured animals living among the corpses of their friends,” said John Di Leonardo, anthrozoologist and Executive Director of Humane Long Island. “Humane Long Island thanks the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and its Biological, Environmental, and Animal Safety Team for prosecuting this heinous case of aggravated animal cruelty and reminds the public that they too can save hundreds of animals annually by simply leaving them off their plates.”
“Fund For Animal Cruelty Treatment of Suffolk (FACTS) is providing costs of care to the dogs in this cruelty case as part of our ongoing partnership with the Suffolk County DA’s office,” said Joyce Glass, co-founder of the Fund for Animal Cruelty Treatment of Suffolk (FACTS). “This is our first case of 2024 and FACTS welcomes the opportunity to fill a specific need in this cruelty case and others being prosecuted in Suffolk County. FACTS is able to continue its work with support from the community. For more information, visit www.factssaves.org.”
The current investigation was launched on January 10, 2024, when a one-year-old German Shepherd was taken to the VCA Westbury Veterinarian Hospital in Westbury and found to be paralyzed from a gunshot wound to the head. According to a witness, the dog, named “Blitzkrieg,” was found shot at about 5:30 p.m. laying in a pen on Lauro’s property next to a dead goat. When detectives with the SCDA’s BEAST unit arrived to Lauro’s home, they learned Lauro had previously shot and killed another German Shepherd, a six-month-old puppy named “Cranky,” approximately a month prior because the dog was allegedly refusing to go back inside his house. The allegations of that event were that Lauro had shot Cranky once in the back and, then, when another resident took him back inside the house in an attempt to console and treat his wounds, Lauro dragged the dog back outside and shot him in the head.
At the home, BEAST detectives found five surviving Belgian Malinois/Dutch Shepherd mix dogs, a Border Collie and two German Shepherd dogs, and numerous other animals including a multitude of goats, pigs, cows, and chickens.
On January 11, 2024, the BEAST Detectives with the assistance of the Riverhead Police Department executed a search warrant against the premises and arrested Lauro on felony charges for allegedly shooting the dogs. Numerous other deceased farm animals, including a baby goat and pig, were observed at the scene. The circumstances of their deaths are still being investigated.
Further investigation revealed that the surviving eight dogs, goats, pigs, cows, and chickens had been subject to neglect, living in deplorable conditions without access to clean food and water. Humane Long Island has been assisting the field operation by triaging farm animal victims to appropriate foster care.
While the investigation is ongoing, Lauro has been initially charged with one count of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, a Class E felony, and three counts of Neglect of an Impounded Animal, Unclassified Misdemeanors.
At his arraignment, Riverhead Town Justice Court Judge, the Honorable Sean Walter ordered Lauro to be held without bail. Lauro is being represented by the Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County. His next court date is January 17, 2024.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Brooke Salvatore of the Biological, Environmental, and Animal Safety Team (BEAST), with investigative assistance from Suffolk County BEAST Detective Joanna Westrack.