A Morongo Valley man, who is the owner of the “Paws Pet Ranch” pet rescue was arrested today. Stephen Caro was under investigation by the San Bernardino County Animal Control and the District Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit after 180 dogs and 2 cats were removed from the rescue on June 23rd.
On August 4, 2016, the District Attorney’s office filed charges based on the investigations. Stephen Caro, 60 is facing 21 felony counts of Cruelty to Animals, officials said. Caro was well-known to rescue geriatric dogs and collect money online for their care. Of the confiscated animals, ten dogs, and the two cats had to be euthanized.
“This is a situation in which the defendant misled the public into thinking the money they were donating was being used to care for the dogs at his pet rescue,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said in the news release. “Unfortunately, the conditions the animals were forced to live in were absolutely deplorable.”
Some of the dogs have already been adopted and others are ready for adoption according to the Monday afternoon news release. Caro was arrested at his residence today and booked into the Morongo Valley Detention Center.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s complaint accuses Caro on each of the 21 counts of, “having custody of the animal, subjected the animal to needless suffering or failed to provide the animal with proper food, drink, shelter, or protection from the weather.”
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