Lee County man arrested for animal neglect

Published: Updated:

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. – Lee County deputies rescued 27 animals from a property off Moore Avenue.

dhaniram, sukhdeo
Sukdeo Dhaniram, 56

The animals’ owner, Dhaniram Sukhdeo, was arrested Wednesday in Alva and is facing one count of unlawful confinement and abandonment for each of his 27 animals.

Deputies confiscated the animals, which included goats, sheep, pigs and a donkey. Sgt. Randy Hodges said it was a sizable operation.

“This is probably the largest small animal seizure that we’ve done, we’ve done cattle, horses in the past at large scale but this particular case is probably the largest we’ve had as far as goat, sheep and pigs,” he said.

Some of the animals did not have water, were tied up with only a few feet of rope or placed in small pens, according to deputies. Sukhdeo’s sheep desperately needed to be sheared, reports show.

However, his family believes this was all a misunderstanding.

“They said we abandoned the animals but we’ve had two people at the property all day with the animals,” Jason Sukhdeo, his son said.

Sukhdeo told deputies the animals were tied down to prevent them from fighting, but deputies said they have not found any evidence of that behavior.

“It hurts so much like we can’t able to sit or stand or nothing because we want the animals, we take good care of them,” his wife, Ann, said.

Ann says she wishes they would have gotten a warning about the complaint before LCSO took the animals away. The family says they have been working on building a new pen for the goats as well as a fence around the property so the animals don’t wander into the busy street.

“We take them out to the green grass about 5,6,7 o’clock, we bring them in back, we let them drink the water from the tub–all the buckets are full–and then later we put them under the tree to feed again,” Ann explained.

The animals are being cared for at the Lee County Stockade and are in decent health, deputies said. Sgt. Hodges said none of the animals appear to be malnourished.

“There were seven pigs out in a small pen that didn’t have any access to water, and the pen conditions were not ideal. This particular case has emphasis on water being the issue,” he said.

A vet will perform routine blood work on a few of the animals Friday, deputies said.


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