Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Dean Manuel, 43(1) neglect of 35 animals at unlicensed petting zoo

Ludlow, MA

Hampden County

December 9, 2013  
Dean Manuel, 43(2) neglect found at unlicensed petting zoo

Ludlow, MA

Hampden County

February 7, 2014  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date /Courthouse

resisting arrest, assault & battery

2 sheep, 4 goats, 4 ducks, 1 goose, 4 donkeys, 4 alpacas, 8 ponies, an emu, 6 pot belly pigs (3 are piglets) & 1 rabbit

(1) horse & donkey


(1) 3/15/14 for 12/9/13 charges

(2) 2/12/14 in Palmer District Court

35 animals, some nearing death, were carted away from Dean Manuel’s unlicensed traveling petting zoo in Ludlow on February 7th. “There were sheep, goats, duck, geese, donkeys, alpacas, ponies, an emu and pot belly pigs,” MSPCA Law Enforcement Officer Christine Allenberg said.

Photo of Dean Manuel courtesy of The MSPCA

When crews arrived, one of the alpaca couldn’t even stand up and required on site emergency attention from a veterinarian. Maureen Basile can believe it: she booked Manuel’s falsely advertised petting zoo for a summer carnival. “They were fed raw dough and moldy bread and that was all they ate,” Basile said. “One of the ponies was emaciated to the point where it’s ribs and the backbone were very pronounced, it was just very sad. All the animals had fur that was well overgrown, matted, covered in feces.”

Allenberg says the property had minimal shelter and no food or water. A search warrant was issued for officers to enter the property, but when they began rescuing the animals, Manuel allegedly became violent and assaulted an MSPCA officer. The entire operation came after several people complained to police. MSPCA officers first charged Manuel with 10 counts of having improper sheltering for horses and donkeys back in December, but further investigation revealed troubling conditions on Sroka Lane.

“It’s a health issue, it’s a blight on the neighborhood. This is an excellent neighborhood,” Sgt. Daniel Valadas of the Ludlow Police said. “I’m sure these neighbors are quite content that these animals are going to be cared for.”

Manuel will be arraigned on charges of resisting arrest, assault and battery on a police officer, and 36 felony animal cruelty charges. Perhaps most important, though, Allenberg says the animals will now get the care they need. “They can’t defend themselves and it’s absolutely egregious when people have the ability to make life better for their animals and they don’t because they depend on their humans to take care of them,” Allenberg said.

Manuel is being held on $10,000 cash bail and is likely to be charged in Palmer District Court on February 12th. The animals will be cared for by the MSPCA and the Animal Rescue League of Boston, until court proceedings wrap up.

Update 2/10/14:
Twelve animals—including the donkeys, ponies, goats and sheep, were taken to the Animal Rescue League’s facility in Dedham. The rest were taken to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen.

The majority of the animals are underweight—including a severely emaciated pony who will be placed on a monitored re-feeding program. Some of the ponies have overgrown hooves and all of the animals will undergo further veterinary exams to assess other health issues that must be treated.

One alpaca was so weak that he could not stand on his own and was sent to the Tufts Veterinary Center in Grafton. The animal remains in the critical care unit while veterinarians determine the full extent of his health issues and how they may be treated.

All Photo's courtesy of the MSPCA

Emaciated Wendy, seized by MSPCA-Angell Law Enforcement is at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm and Wendy's overgrown hooves.

These Three piglets and the 2 Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs are at Nevins Farm

These 3 alpacas are in the care of the MSPCA at Nevins Farm. The 4th is in the critical care unit at Tufts Veterinary Center in Grafton.

Update 2/11/14:
Manuel, 43 was ordered held without bail at his arraignment on February 10th pending a competency hearing scheduled for February 12th.

Manuel pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of animal cruelty . He also faces charges for allegedly assaulting a police officer who came to investigate.

Investigators found 4 donkeys, 8 ponies, 6 pigs (including 3 piglets), 4 goats, 4 alpacas, 4 ducks, 2 sheep, and a goose, emu and rabbit at the property.

The MSPCA previously charged Manual with 10 separate counts of animal cruelty after a December 9, 2013 inspection of his property by officer Christine Allenberg who found ponies and donkeys living in pens with no food or water, and no protection from the elements. The animals were wet and covered with ice and snow.

Officer Allenberg gave Manual until December 17th to build the shelter. Manual was charged when he failed to meet the deadline. Manual denied the charges at his December 23rd arraignment. Manual was scheduled to appear in court on March 5th on those charges.


WGGB The Springfield Republican
The Lowell Sun The MSPCA