MANATEE -- A 51-year-old man has been charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty as a result of an investigation prompted earlier this month when deputies seized several animals from an abandoned house in Bradenton, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
Mauro Cantos was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with 13 counts of unlawful confinement/abandonment of animals, five counts of cruelty to animals and four counts of fighting or baiting animals.
He is being held at the Manatee County jail on bonds totaling $12,000. He will appear before a Manatee County judge Thursday afternoon if he doesn't bond out before.
Sheriff's deputies responded Jan. 15 to a complaint of several animals neglected at an abandoned house in the 3800 block of 38th Avenue East, Bradenton. Cantos was one of the listed property owners, according to the Manatee Property Appraiser's website.
Animal Services officials seized four dogs, while deputies confiscated five pigs, five roosters, three hens, three sheep and one lamb. Deputies reportedly found the animals were not being properly fed or cared for and many were in cages without food or water.
Investigators have begun the civil forfeiture process for the animals, according to Sgt. Rob Hendrickson.
"Basically we are trying to keep him from getting the animals back," Hendrickson said. "If the judge agrees with it, it allows us to adopt the animals out, which also stops us from incurring additional costs."
The dogs are now being sheltered at Manatee County Animal Services, and the livestock is at the Manatee County jail's farm.
"We want to find to a good home for the animals," Hendrickson said.
After seizing the animals, investigators tried to interview Cantos.
"He was supposed to come in for an interview, which he failed to show up for," Hendrickson said.
The home was abandoned about three years ago after being destroyed by a fire, according to investigators.
The case has been forwarded to the State Attorney's Office Animal Division to determine if any charges will be filed.
Cantos' past arrests include charges of violating probation and multiple counts of violating a domestic injunction.
Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.