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Chaparral man accused of hoarding hundreds of dogs could soon face animal cruelty charges

By: Genevieve Curtis

CHAPARRAL, N.M.--A Chaparral hoarding case involving close to 300 dogs is now in the hands of the Otero County District Attorney and the office tells KFOX14 they plan to file charges.

As we first reported, in September, Felix Moriel, was arrested at his dog sanctuary, where he had almost 300 dogs.

Several local rescues and volunteers took in as many of the dogs as they could.

But the dogs were either mean, aggressive, terrified or sick.

Three months ago KFOX14 went to one of the rescues housing around 60 of the dogs. At the time most cowered in their kennels fearful of human contact. Others were fierce, waiting to attack.

After three months of rehabilitation many are now adoptable.

"It's amazing to see the chance you give them just by working with them, interacting with them, giving them a little bit of love," said Elsa Escobar one of the volunteers.

Now animal advocates want to see what kind of charges Moriel might face.

Otero County Chief Deputy District Attorney told KFOX14 they plan to charge him with animal cruelty. In a statement he said, "The Twelfth Judicial District Attorney's Office is conducting a thorough review of the evidence in this matter. Based upon our review of the evidence to date, we are certain that multiple charges of animal cruelty will ultimately be filed. There is ongoing follow-up investigation currently being conducted by the Otero County Sheriff's Office which, when complete, will more clearly reveal the exact scope and severity of the charges."

Moriel's property was called a "Dog Sanctuary" but according to animal advocates, it turned out to be anything but. After what the dogs went through, rescuers know that some of the dogs may never be adoptable.

Some of the dogs died from distemper.

Still, after three months of patience, attention and affection from volunteers, many can be adopted. Some already have been.

They've all been spayed, neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

Rescuers said they are making arrangements to move the dogs who cannot be rehabilitated to a true dog sanctuary where they can live out their days.



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