Cape man charged with cruelty to animals
A Cape Coral man faces nine counts of cruelty to animals after deputies found two dead farm animals on a North Fort Myers property that he owns.
Joseph Reyes, 42, of 1501 S.W. 49th St., is charged with conservation of animals tormented deprived mutilated or killed. The charge is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both, according to a report from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
Reyes was released from the Lee County Jail at 7:05 a.m. Wednesday on $9,000 bond, jail booking records state. He has a court date scheduled for April 27 at 8 a.m.
A message left for Reyes seeking comment was not returned by press time Wednesday.
According to the report, the LCSO received a call at 8:30 p.m. Sunday about a dead goat at a property at 8550 Nalle Grade Road. A deputy responded and found the dead animal had its head stuck in a fence. The case was given to the LCSO Agricultural Crimes Unit, which responded to the property on Monday.
The report states a deputy with the unit found the goat and it appeared that the animal had been dead for several days. There were seven live goats and sheep on the land, which is nothing but “dead grass and dirt,” and no signs of anyone providing feed for the animals. No food was located on the property, officials said.
The property also contained no watering holes, only buckets which required someone to fill them. According to the report, the deputy observed no water on the land except for a tub located by an adjacent property. A neighbor said she placed the tub where is was so the goats and sheep would have water.
The neighbor told officers that she had not seen anyone at the property for several weeks. She and her boyfriend smelled an odor Sunday coming from next door and found the dead goat stuck in the fence. Next to it was a goat that could not stand. They tried to give it food and water, the report states.
Deputies contacted Reyes Tuesday and he agreed to meet officers at the property. According to the report, Reyes told deputies that he is the owner of the land and the livestock.
Deputies counted seven live animals and two dead on the property. Reyes was placed under arrest and taken to jail.