Malnourished dogs found in Brooksville house

Five men arrested for trespassing
Posted at 11:21 PM, Jan 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-23 23:21:00-05

Deputies arrested five men for trespassing after a neighbor spotted them on the property of a vacant home in Brooksville.

According to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, the men had four dogs with them that were in bad shape. They said their bones were visible and they had cuts plus scars.

"It was hard to get any real straight answers from them," Michael Terry, Public Information Officer, said.

Deputies charged the five men with trespass other than structure or conveyance, but they are also looking at this as a possible animal cruelty case. The names of the suspects are Barbaro Lopez, Yoel Martinez, Lidier Gonzalez, Ernesto Hernandez, and Iraldo Rodriquez Manso.

"Most of them {the suspects} said they came from the Miami area and drove up here to Brooksville, but they couldn't say why they did that (or) what was the purposes of bringing four dogs from Miami to Brooksville," Terry said.

ABC Action News spoke with the niece of Barbaro Lopez who lives in Tampa. She said she heard about the trespassing charge from us.

"I've known him to be a loving guy with animals. He loves animals," his niece said.

She did not want to be identified on camera. She said she is surprised by the arrest and the investigation.

"I love animals myself and I take very good care of them so to know that any family members of mine may be looked at as a person who did anything like that to any type of animal really shocked me," she said.

According to the sheriff's office, deputies tried to reach the owner of the vacant home. Terry said neighbors told them the home has been vacant for about 2 years.

The sheriff's office continues to investigate. The men have only been charged with trespassing.