Deputies: Golden Gate man jailed after 4 dogs severely neglected

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Rodrigo Ochoa (Credit: CCSO booking photo)

Deputies arrested a 48-year-old Golden Gate man Wednesday after they say four dogs suffered severe neglect while in his care.

Rodrigo Ochoa faces charges for aggravated animal cruelty.

Deputies responded to Ochoa’s residence in January to conduct a welfare check on another person who lives there. Deputies smelled a foul stench of urine and feces coming from the garage and could hear dogs barking. Deputies asked Ochoa if they could see the dogs and he consented.

Rodrigo Ochoa (Credit: CCSO booking photo)

According to arrest reports, deputies found four dogs living in horrid conditions. The dogs were kept inside a dark garage with no air conditioning. They were locked in small cages, wallowing in their waste, with filthy and mostly empty food and water bowls. Two of the dogs had open wounds and untreated skin conditions. All of them appeared to show signs of extreme drowsiness and confusion.

Ochoa told deputies the dogs have been in his care for approximately two years, reports said.

The dogs were identified as a 19-year-old female Yorkshire terrier; a 13-year-old female Rhodesian Ridgeback; a 12-year-old female American Staffordshire terrier; and a 7-year-old bull terrier.

The following day, Ochoa surrendered the dogs to Collier County Domestic Animal Services which performed a series of exams on the animals. The dogs were found to be suffering from various ailments as a result of neglect and abuse, including pancreas and kidney diseases, heart conditions, large masses, pulmonary edemas, and degenerative joint disorders. Three of the dogs were not able to be saved and had to be euthanized due to their conditions, reports said. Ochoa was taken into custody at his residence and booked in the Naples Jail Center on the felony charge.

Domestic animal services says it’s working closer with the CCSO recently. Representatives say deputies are being more proactive to notify them about potential animal cruelty cases.

Some who have witnessed animal abuse in the county hope it will put more abusers behind bars.

“Two of the dogs and they were just, they looked really bad,” Kelsey Bautista said. “They had a whole bunch of gnats on their fur. They didn’t look like they were getting fed.”

“I was so heartbroken,” Bautista said. “I would see it, and I would call domestic animal services.”

Now, her neighbor, Ochoa, is facing animal cruelty charges.

“At least they got him now,” Bautista said.

Domestic animal services said three of the dogs couldn’t be saved from their health conditions.

“They didn’t have food or water or AC where they were staying,” Bautista said.

Deputies also recently arrested a man for animal cruelty involving kittens.

The dog in Golden Gate, whose name is Markus, has a second chance after being rescued.

“I’m glad,” Bautista said. “It brings so much joy.”

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.