Around 32 dead dogs were found in a man’s freezer near New Orleans, and officials are not exactly sure why the dogs–most of which are puppies–were being kept there.
The suspect in the case was identified as Juan Toledo of Arabi, reported NOLA.com. He was charged with 32 counts of animal cruelty, said the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Toledo, 52, “had intended to bury them at some point and he hadn’t gotten around to it,” said Col. John Doran of the Sheriff’s Office.
“It appears that these dogs died of neglect,” Doran added.
“He offered no explanation of how they died, except to speculate the smallest ones may have been accidentally suffocated by a mother dog,” Sheriff James Pohlmann told The Associated Press.
Police said the dogs did not have any knife or gunshot wounds, or signs of trauma.
Neighbor Monique Gleason told WWLTV that Toledo is “never there” at his home. “I wouldn’t expect him to have dogs or animals there.”
Toledo’s former girlfriend tipped police about the dead dogs. Toledo, who served time in prison about 20 years ago for burglary, was booked in July for aggravated battery of a woman who was believed to be his girlfriend at the time. He was also accused of murdering his wife in 1983, but he was never convicted.
“He basically said he was keeping these dogs, raising these dogs and they had puppies. At some point they died. He intended on burying them but he hadn’t gotten around to it and buried them in the freezer,” said Doran.
Around a year ago, Toledo went missing police went over to check on him.
“I remember him having a lot of dogs, live dogs,” Doran told NOLA. “We called animal control at that time since he wasn’t there and the dogs were on their own.”