Arrests made in investigation at ‘Black Rock Canines’ in Naugatuck

3 people arrested in Naugatuck animal abuse investigation
Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 5:55 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NAUGATUCK, CT (WFSB) - Three people are facing charges in an animal cruelty case at the Black Rock Canines dog training facility in Naugatuck.

Police talked about the investigation Tuesday afternoon:

Naugatuck police talk about arrests made in Black Rock Canines investigation.

One of the men is a police officer who is already facing charges.

New Canaan officer David Rivera is now accused of shooting and abusing dogs. He was already facing explosive charges.

He turned himself in to police Monday night after learning of new charges.

Rivera is charged with conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals, reckless endangerment first degree, and conspiracy to commit euthanization of a canine.

Rivera is free on a $150,000 bond and is due back in court on new charges May 19.

Police showed up to his business Tuesday, searching the canine facility along with removing a number of dogs.

State and local law enforcement, along with animal control officers, made their way in and out of Black Rock Canines in Naugatuck after spending hours on the property Tuesday.

“This is definitely one that pulls at the heart strings of our investigators, I know they’re certainly disturbed by what they saw as well as the allegations up there,” said Naugatuck Police Chief C. Colin McAllister.

Rivera, who owns the dog training businesses, along with Daniel Luna, the general manager, are accused of killing, abusing and burying dogs on the property.

Luna faces four counts of cruelty to animals, four counts of conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals, reckless endangerment first degree, unlawful euthanization first degree, four counts of unlawful euthanization of a canine, four counts of conspiracy to commit euthanization of a canine, and identity theft third degree.

Luna is held on a $225,000 bond and appeared in Waterbury court Tuesday.

“At least 10 canines were killed by employees with a fire arm, the canines were then buried on the property by the owner and owner operators of the business,” said McAllister. “Daniel Luna’s mistreatment and abuse of these animals included shootings dogs which were deemed no longer viable for the business.”

Police first arrested Rivera last week.

They searched his home and business, charging him with illegal possession and storage of explosives, along with illegal possession of an assault weapon.

Police have said Rivera, who did not have a permit, used the explosives in his business, training dogs for both military and police.

Rivera’s father, David Rivera Sr., was also charged in the investigation.

Police say he threatened one current and one former employee with a knife at the facility.

Rivera Sr. is charged with threatening in the second degree and two counts of breach of peace.

He is out on a $25,00 bond and is scheduled to appear in Waterbury court May 11.

According to the arrest warrant, two former employees brought up the concerns.

These most recent charges add to a wide scale investigation.

“Multiple agencies are examining this, there are a lot of moving parts involved, but we’re all doing our due diligence to make sure we cover all our basis, make sure no stone goes unturned,” said Sergeant Dawn Pagan with Connecticut State Police.

Police say 31 dogs remaining at the facility were placed in a shelter.

“These dogs will remain at the shelter and receive the proper care they need pending the disposition of this case,” Naugatuck police said.

Stay with Eyewitness News for updates.