Naugatuck, Connecticut – Three men who ran a professional dog training facility in Naugatuck are facing multiple charges for abusing and killing dogs who were deemed “useless” for work or adoption. One of the men, identified by the Naugatuck Police Department as David Rivera Jr., is a police officer (currently on leave pending results of the investigation) for New Canaan.
The training facility where at least 10 dogs were allegedly shot and killed is Black Rock Canines.
The other men tied to the killings and abuse are identified as Daniel Luna (DOB 03/20/1989) and David Rivera, Sr. (DOB 06/11/1964). Luna is reported to be a former police officer.
A news release from the authorities outlines the allegations against Daniel Luna, the General Manager at the training facility:
(Luna) had abused numerous puppies and dogs during his time of employment at Black Rock Canines facility. Daniel Luna’s mistreatment and abuse of these animals included the shooting of dogs which were deemed no longer viable for the business. Witnesses also stated that Daniel Luna’s lack of adequate care led to the death of puppies who had been left exposed to harsh weather elements.
An employee told investigators how Luna killed the “useless” dogs, stating that “He killed them by putting the food bowl down and then he shot them in the back of the head. After he pushed the dead dogs in the hole, he would shoot them again.” Luna allegedly threatened to kill that worker if she called the police.
The accusations these men face reach beyond the abuse and killing of dogs. The authorities allege that military-grade high explosives were being unlawfully stored on the property, and David Rivera Sr. is accused of threatening one current and one former employee with a knife.
As the police investigated the horrifying situation, past customers of the training facility came forward with their own reports of abuse. Court documents state that “One individual reported that their canine went there for training and had to be put down and was offered a puppy as payment.”
One man took his Labrador retriever to the facility for a 20-day training session, and by the time the training ended, she had burns on her neck from a shock collar, a double ear infection, and had lost approximately 10 pounds. Her owner, Nick Perugini, was so upset about his dog’s condition that he filed a complaint with the police.
Former employees told the authorities that the dogs trained at Black Rock Canines were treated “inhumanely.” Per the warrant, one person said that he saw videos taken by other employees showing dogs with blood dripping from their heads, whip marks, scars, and burn marks.
The accusations against these men are appalling. Please add your name to the petition today as we fight for justice for each and every dog who suffered and died at this training facility.
We the undersigned demand that David Rivera Jr., David Rivera Sr., and Daniel Luna are held responsible for the abuse and killing of dogs who were at the Black Rock Canines training facility. We are petitioning for these men to receive the maximum punishment allowable by law, in addition to being prohibited from owning or residing with animals in the future.
David Rivera Jr. has surrendered ownership of the 31 dogs who were seized from the training facility; the dogs are being cared for at an undisclosed shelter and are not currently available for adoption.
Note: Individuals are presumed innocent until being found guilty in a court of law. Animal Victory relies upon the authorities and the court system to determine guilt or innocence.
Naugatuck PRESS CONFERENCE MAY 03
Update 11/9/2023: Animal Victory sent petition to the DA.
Update 10/25/2023: David Rivera Sr.’s case has been statutorily sealed. David Rivera Jr. is set for pre-trial on 12-11-2023 at 10 a.m.
Daniel Luna is set for pre-trial on 10-26-2023 at 10 a.m
Both cases are being held in courtroom Waterbury GA4 at 400 Grand Street, Waterbury CT, 06702
Update 5/11/2023: Updated court schedule for all three defendants. Rivera Sr. is scheduled for 6/13/2023 at 10 am, Rivera Jr. is scheduled 5/18/2023 at 10 am, and Luna is scheduled for 7/11/2023 at 10 am.
Update 5/11/2023: Animal Victory sent cover letter and petition to the judge.
Update 1/27/2023: David Rivera Sr. is scheduled for court on 2/23/2023 at 10 a.m. to enter his plea. David Rivera Jr. is scheduled for court on 2/02/2023 at 10 a.m. titled “Pre-Trial,” and Luna is scheduled for court on 2/17/2023 at 10 a.m. to enter his plea.
Update 12/29/2022: David Rivera Sr. is scheduled for court on 01/23/2023 at 10 a.m. titled “awaiting plea.”
Update 10/20/2022: Court dates are as follows:
Luna 12/13/2022 at 10 am titled ‘Awaiting Plea’ Luna (1)
Rivera Sr. (64′) 12/19/2022 at 10 am titled “Awaiting Plea) David Rivera 64
Rivera Jr. (87′) 11/28/2022 at 10 am titled “Pre-Trial’ David Rivera 87
Update 9/13/2022: The next scheduled court date for defendant Rivera Jr. is set for October 11, 2022, at 10 a.m.
Update 8/1/2022: Each defendant has been given separate court dates. David Rivera Sr.’s next court date is scheduled for September 12th at 10 a.m. for a plea. David Rivera Jr.’s next court date is on August 17th at 10 a.m. for pre-trial. He has pleaded not guilty. Daniel Luna’s next court date is August 25th at 10 a.m. to enter a plea.
Update 6/22/2022: Animal Victory has sent 14,032 signatures to Prosecuting Attorney Maureen Platt
Prior Signatures 14,531