A northwest Indiana man is facing nearly 100 charges of animal mistreatment after nearly 70 dogs and puppies were removed from an alleged puppy mill last month.
Stevce Rajcinoski, 36 of Crown Point, was formally charged Thursday in connection with a warrant executed on his property in unincorporated Center Township near Crown Point on May 3, according to the Lake County sheriff’s office.
The raid turned up 68 dogs and puppies on the property in the 5900 block of 125th Avenue, along with three goats and a miniature horse, according to the sheriff’s office.
Several litters of puppies were among the animals recovered at the suspected breeding operation, according to the sheriff’s office.
Many of the animals were in urgent need of veterinary care. They are being cared for at the Lake County Animal Control and Adoption Center until they are healthy enough to be adopted out, according to the sheriff’s department.
Deputies also found surgical scalpels and other veterinary medical equipment on the property, though no one living there was a licensed veterinarian, police said.
Rajcinoski is charged with 11 counts of animal mutilation, 72 counts of animal neglect, 11 counts of practicing veterinary medicine without a license, and one count of failing to register as a commercial breeder with the state, police said. He is not yet in custody, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
A GoFundMe page set up to help raise funds for the care of the animals recovered on the Rajcinoski property has already exceeded its goal of $10,000.
A second GoFundMe page has raised more than $2,500.
A post on the shelter’s Facebook page said the dogs are “doing well and are loving the attention they get from the staff.”
However, they are not yet ready for adoption, and will only be adopted to residents within 50 miles of Crown Point, as the animals are still considered part of the criminal investigation.
The Animal Control Center said it is badly in need of food, blankets, cleaning supplies and towels.