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St. Croix’s Eliezer Saldana Arrested By Police For Animal Neglect Charges After Hurricane Maria

FREDERIKSTED — A St. Croix man was arrested Friday on animal neglect charges after a special police unit determined that he had failed to feed or water the animal after Hurricane Maria.

Eliezer E. Saldana, 35, was arrested on one charge of first-degree animal neglect after an arrest warrant was issued by the Virgin Islands Superior Court.

Following the devastation of Hurricane Maria on the island of St. Croix, a Disaster Response Team from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was deployed to the territory at the request of the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (DOA) to help care for animals impacted by the storm, according to the release.

On October 20, 2017, members of ASPCA responded to a service call regarding a loose hog in the area of Estate Coble and while conducting said search, they discovered a male grey stallion lying on the ground in an open pasture. The horse had a rope tangled around his legs and neck and was unable to neither stand on its own nor reach a bucket of water that was nearby. ASPCA responder noticed that the horse was in poor health condition (emaciated) and could possibly die overnight.

The horse was taken to the Agriculture Department where a veterinary team from the ASPCA found that the horse was suffering from several medical issues and illnesses that were caused due to profound lack of appropriate care and neglect, according to the release. These medical issues became severe as the days passed and after providing professional medical care, his health deteriorated to the point that humane euthanasia was discussed. Due to the severe medical condition and long term quality of life, the horse was humanely euthanized.

Based on the information obtained, the horse in this case was a well-known racing horse who had won several races in the territory and abroad.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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