CHAPARRAL, N.M. — As of Tuesday night all but about 30 dogs have been transferred over to area animal sanctuaries and rescues or adopted out from a Chaparral animal sanctuary after it's owner was arrested last week.
Felix Moriel, 44, was arrested Friday for allegedly holding a 70-year-old woman against her will and even exposing himself to her several times.
The dogs were discovered after the arrest and were reported to be 170 but a group of volunteers and a former board member of Moriel's Desert Mission Sanctuary said there was a total of 268 dogs.
"It's not their fault that they were put in the is predicament," said Randy Winn, who was given power of attorney by Moriel.
Winn has been working on finding the dogs temporary or permanent homes after Moriel was arrested.
A criminal complaint states the woman came to Moriel for help burying a dog.
The records show that at the request of Moriel the two watched TV inside the home where he allegedly tried to grope the woman and exposed himself to her several times.
According to the documents, when the woman tried to leave he allegedly pinned her down and at one point even dragged her back onto his property.
Winn said the Moriel had previously refused help from him or others in caring for all the dogs on his property but he did his best to care for them.
"They've all been fed and they're watered and in good shape," Winn said.
He said the dogs are not aggressive but with so many of them, they're relying on donations to help take care of the animals.
The volunteers are asking for dog food, leashes and kennels or any other help they can get.
Moriel remains in custody at the Otero County Detention Center on a $25,000 bond.
Donations accepted in person at:
804 Alice Marie Dr.
For more information: