Dogs Seized at Black Rock Canines in Naugatuck Are Receiving Care, Not Adoptable

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The dogs that were seized during an animal cruelty investigation involving Black Rock Canines won't be available for adoption in the near future, authorities said.

Naugatuck police said the dogs are receiving care and being evaluated by a veterinarian. The dogs are considered to be evidence in the investigation.

Multiple people are accused of abusing and killing at least 10 dogs at Black Rock Canines in Naugatuck and have been arrested.

In late April 2022, the State of Connecticut Dept. of Agriculture-State Animal Control Unit, the Connecticut State Police and the Stratford Police Department contacted Naugatuck Police Department about a joint investigation involving the allegations of the storage of illegal explosives, guns and possible animal cruelty at Black Rock Canines on Hunters Mountain Road.

The owner of Black Rock Canines, David Rivera Jr., is a New Canaan police officer. The business is a training facility for potential military and police canines as well as for privately owned canines by people seeking such training.

Investigators said they believe at least 10 canines were killed by employees of the business. The dogs are believed to have been shot and killed and then buried on the property by the owner or operators of the business. State police said they have found the remains of four dogs there.

New Canaan police said Rivera has been placed on leave and is currently prohibited from serving as an active duty officer. The police department said he'll remain on leave pending the results of the criminal case and the internal investigation.

Rivera Jr., turned himself in to Naugatuck Police Department on Monday and was charged with reckless endangerment, conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals and conspiracy to commit euthanization of a canine. He was released after posting a $150,000 bond and is due in court on May 18. These charges are in addition to the charges he was arrested on last week.

David Rivera has been a police officer for nine years, and is now off the job after being arrested on explosive and weapon charges.

During a search of Rivera Jr.’s home, police found high explosives improperly stored, Corradino said, citing an arrest warrant affidavit.

The state’s attorney said Rivera Jr. is alleged to have used the explosives in his business training working dogs for various organizations and the warrant states that he had no permit for the possession of the high explosives and also had an assault weapon.

Officials said the Naugatuck Animal Control Division has been overwhelmed with questions regarding adoption of fostering these dogs.

It's unknown if or when the dogs seized will be up for adoption.

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