SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Animal rights activists protested outside a court hearing Monday for an East Greenwich man who is facing several animal cruelty charges after police found neglected and abused dogs living in his home.
The pretrial hearing was held for Eugene McQuade, 35, who is charged with 11 counts of unnecessary cruelty to animals, 11 counts of mistreatment of animals and one count of abandonment of animals from a motor vehicle.
Police said troopers found several animals living in squalid conditions at two properties owned by McQuade. They said three pit bulls were rescued from a home on Stony Lane in Exeter and another eight were rescued from a home on Hill Farm Road in Coventry. Troopers also found one dog abandoned in a truck, according to police.
The activists claim loopholes in Rhode Island law are allowing people to get away with animal cruelty with relatively light punishments. They say they want those convicted of animal cruelty to face prison time instead of fines. They also want to eliminate a loophole that allows dogs to be kept outside if they are being used for hunting.
“This is why they keep doing it, because they know they can get away with it,” Anita Pimental said. “The laws aren’t strong enough to protect the animals, the laws are protecting them. And this is why we’re here and we keep doing this, until something gets done and it stops.”
The same advocates held a protest in Warwick last month, after concerns were raised over a resident’s dogs being kept outside in the cold.
The Rhode Island Society for Preventing Cruelty to Animals said after an investigation that the owner of the dogs provided sufficient evidence that he is raising the dogs for hunting purposes. Under Rhode Island law, this provides and exemption to regulations governing the housing of dogs.