East Providence homeowner facing animal cruelty, illegal breeding charges

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The owner of an East Providence home where dozens of animals were rescued from squalid conditions in January is facing additional charges, according to Animal Control Supervisor William Muggle.

Rachel Duarte, 40, is facing 17 counts of unnecessary cruelty and 365 counts operating an unlicensed pet shop and breeder. Muggle said Animal Control was looking into illegal breeding and illegal selling at the home.

“It’s a per-day count and we’re charging for the previous year,” he said.

East Providence Animal Control seized dozens of animals from the Floyd Avenue home, including 22 cats and 20 dogs. Conditions at the house were so poor the house was condemned on the spot by a building inspector.

Of the 20 dogs, 17 were puppies. Some of those puppies were infected with parvovirus, which caused the East Providence Animal Shelter to go under quarantine. One of the puppies ending up dying of the disease.

According to Muggle, the shelter is now full of healthy dogs and no longer under quarantine as of Monday.

“One of the toughest months in my career,” Muggle said. “We’re back to normal here.”

The shelter is now taking applications for adoptions. Muggle said he wants those puppies adopted sooner rather than later since he does not want them to grow up in a shelter.