A 55-year-old man is facing multiple animal cruelty charges after authorities found evidence that he kept six dogs locked inside without food and water, including one that died trying to sip water from a pipe.
The DeLand Police Department arrested Kevin Proulx on Thursday, July 6, on six charges of felony cruelty to animals.
According to an arrest affidavit filed in Volusia County court, officers were dispatched to Proulx’s home at 406 Pursley Drive on June 16 for a well-being check after a neighbor reported dogs barking loudly.
Upon arrival, the neighbor told officers that they believed the dogs had been rehomed on account of not having seen the dogs in recent weeks.
As the officer approached the home, he observed two dogs outside that were barking. As he continued, he saw another dog that appeared to be deceased. That dog was laying under the opening of an air conditioning pipe that dripped water. According to the affidavit, the dog’s mouth was under the opening of the pipe “as if it was attempting to catch the water and then passed away.”
After several knocks on the front door, Proulx emerged from the garage with feces covering his feet. He advised that he was having a heart attack and was transported to a local hospital.
Volusia County Animal Control officers were called to the scene to assist in catching and transporting the dogs from the home.
An officer conducted a walkthrough of the home to make sure there were no additional dogs inside. During that walkthrough, the officer noted that the residence was covered in urine and feces from the dogs. The urine and feces appeared to have been piling up for several weeks or months, according to the officer.
The affidavit notes that it appeared the “dogs were no longer being let out of the residence to go to the bathroom outside.” There were no feces found in the backyard, and there was trash all over the interior of the home, including empty bottles of liquor. The walls were filled with homes and the residence was trashed from the dogs tearing everything apart. There was no dog food or water found anywhere in the residence.
In the affidavit, the officer noted that the smell inside the residence “was so bad” that he had to “borrow a mask and oxygen tank from the DeLand Fire Department in order to be able to walk through the residence.”
The dogs were examined by a local veterinarian, who reported that all of the dogs were underweight, malnourished, and had been living in a “survival of the fittest” situation. According to the veterinarian, the sixth dog died due to not being able to obtain the food or water needed for itself to survive. All of the dogs were given body condition scores that suggested each had been severely dehydrated and deprived of food.
The veterinarian suggested that the dogs were subjected to “unnecessary suffering” from being deprived of food and water and the ability to go outside of the residence.
Proulx was released from the Volusia County Jail just a few hours after his arrest on bond. His arraignment is scheduled for July 27, according to court records.