A New Haven man has been arrested and charged with cruelty to animals after two pit bulls were found tied to a tree because he couldn't care for them anymore.
On Wednesday evening police said they were approached by a child who was concerned for the well-being of a dog that was tied up in a back yard.
Officers went to the back of the Wolcott Street home and said they found an adult female pit bull tied to a tree and was stuck between it and some bushes.
Police said the dog couldn't move more than a few feet in any direction.
While there, a neighbor noticed police officers and alerted them to another dog.
That male pit bull was lying on the ground and was covered with hundreds of flies swarmed around his motionless body.
Officers approached the dog, which didn't respond to their voices.
The emaciated dog was confined to a small space and police said there was no excrement within the space.
Police said there was also no food, shelter or water made available to the dogs.
Police called animal control, who responded to the scene. The older dog was too weak to walk, so officers made a stretcher out of a blanket to move him.
With the dogs at the shelter, police looked for the dogs' owner.
Police contacted the homeowner, identified as Jennie Villanueva, who told police the dogs belonged to her nephew, identified as William Cepeda, 32, of New Haven.
He agreed to go to the police station to speak with officers about the dogs. When he arrived, he admitted to police that he had not fed the dogs in a week, which was a "gross understatement" according to animal control.
He said he just couldn't take care of the dogs anymore, and when he brought them to a veterinarian to be euthanized, he claimed the vet refused so he had no choice to abandon them.
The New Haven Police Department's Animal Shelter is reporting that the dogs are responding to their care, and the older male, the one covered in flies, "gobbled up cookies at the scene" and has been eating ever since.
Cepeda said he claimed he didn't feed that dog because he wouldn't eat.
Police said the female pit bull was in better condition, although she is 15 pounds underweight. She is expected to make a full recovery, but they are not sure if the male pit bull will fully recover.
Police said he was in worse shape than the female, but shelter staff is doing as much as it can to help the dogs survive.
Cepeda was arrested and charged with two counts of animal cruelty.
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