RIVERHEAD, NY – In a profoundly unsettling instance of animal cruelty, Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced the recent apprehension of Carlos Lauro, a 76 year old Riverhead resident. Lauro stands accused of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals alongside other related charges, allegedly culpable for the fatal shooting of two German Shepherds, among other acts.
District Attorney Tierney did not mince words when labelling this case a “horrific example of cruelty.” Despite the inability to rescue all the pets discovered in appalling conditions on Lauro’s property, Mr. Tierney pledged to pursue justice for these innocent victims.
Over the years, Carlos Lauro’s Sound Avenue property had been the subject of many complaints to the Town relating to improper activities and general maintenance. Erik C. Howard, the Town of Riverhead Attorney, revealed that the gamut of issues included illegal animal sales, an attempt to operate an unlawful slaughterhouse, dilapidated structures, loose farm animals, and general property maintenance. Mr. Howard applauded the Suffolk County District Attorney’s robust prosecution of Mr. Lauro, pledging his office’s support in an endeavor to convict Lauro on all counts.
Offering an additional perspective, John Di Leonardo, the Executive Director of Humane Long Island, shed light on the animals’ terror and fight for survival, one mirrored in humans when faced with similar peril. Di Leonardo lauded the District Attorney’s Biological, Environmental, and Animal Safety Team (BEAST), for tackling this horrifying case of aggravated animal cruelty.
The investigation into Carlos Lauro’s activities kicked off on January 10, 2024, upon the discovery of an injured one-year-old German Shepherd at the VCA Westbury Veterinarian Hospital in Westbury, paralyzed from a gunshot wound to the head. Named “Blitzkrieg,” he had been found on Mr. Lauro’s property next to a dead goat. Subsequent investigations indicated that Lauro had earlier shot and killed another German Shepherd, “Cranky,” a six-month-old puppy, allegedly because it refused to heed his instructions.
In response, BEAST detectives discovered a shocking scene at Lauro’s home, housing a mix of dogs and many other animals in terrible conditions. A subsequent search warrant executed on January 11, 2024, resulted in Lauro’s arrest for the alleged dog shootings. Deceased baby goats and pigs were also seen on the property, with the causes of their deaths still under investigation.
Alarmingly, further investigations unveiled neglect and abuse of the surviving animals, including eight dogs, goats, pigs, cows, and chickens, all suffering in squalor without clean food and water. Overseeing their well-being, Humane Long Island offered immediate triage and facilitated foster care for the roughed farm animals.
As investigations proceed, Lauro has initially been charged with one count of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, a Class E felony, and three counts of Neglect of an Impounded Animal, Unclassified Misdemeanors. During his arraignment, Town Justice, Judge Sean Walter, ordered Lauro held without bail. Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County currently represents Mr. Lauro, with his next court appearance slated for January 17, 2024.
Assistant District Attorney Brooke Salvatore of BEAST is leading the prosecution, with Detective Joanna Westrack offering investigative support. As Suffolk County grapples with yet another shocking instance of animal cruelty, efforts to hold those responsible for these heinous crimes are being tenaciously pursued.