A protest was held against animal cruelty on Bergen Place in Bay Ridge Sunday.
The rally was organized by neighbors who say people are illegally living in a foreclosed house are mistreating dogs.
The dog owner – who calls himself Ray – invited News 12 in to speak one-on-one. He showed News 12 two of his dogs that he says are his beloved pets.
He’s got five dogs in the house who, according to him, are all cared for.
The protesters said he has been squatting in the foreclosed home for almost a year.
Ray said he moved into the home in January, and claims he was cheated out of his money.
“I had put down a big deposit and come to find out it was a scam, when COVID had hit, the person disappeared. I never heard anything. So I did seek some legal information and advice, so they basically said if you have utilities there you should stay until you figure out what’s going on,” he said.
He says once he has a chance, he plans to move out.
Among the other concerns of the protesters is that the dogs are being kept in the cold and being bred for puppies.
“We hear the dogs barking, we see the young men selling puppies on the street. They told us when one of the dogs had puppies, that they had 13 puppies, and we see different dogs in the backyard, they have two Huskies, two Great Danes, we see dogs come and go,” said neighbor Jack Latorre.
Ray disputes this.
“Two of my dogs ended up locking up, I did have a litter of puppies, they all went to a caring, loving home. Those dogs are registered, AKC, I can show paperwork for that,” said Ray.
A spokesperson from the NYPD said that the 68th Precinct is aware of the issue at the location – and they are working with the NYPD Animal Cruelty investigation squad, but that “no evidence of animal cruelty has been found in previous visits, and we remain focused on ensuring safety for all. “