Neighbors of Carmen Ramos, the Feltonville woman found dead in her home with severe pit bull bites, say that the SPCA could have prevented her death by taking action against her husband’s unruly dogs.
“We’ve been going back and forth with the SPCA for years and they never did anything about it,” said neighbor Victor Viruet, who, along with others claimed that Ramos’ husband, Jose Alvarez, had at least three previous run-ins with the SPCA. “Now there’s a dead person. We, the neighbors, blame the SPCA and him.”
According to neighbors, four of the dogs escaped from the house less than two weeks ago. The pit bulls went on to attack a woman at Fifth and Erie streets and mauled Gus Castro, 25.
“They were running everywhere, so I tried to follow them and put a leash on them,” Castro said. “There are a lot of kids on this block.”
Castro said that police closed neighborhood streets until animal control was able to arrive and capture the dogs.
Four days later, Alvarez got them back.
“He kept paying $200, $300 and they’d give the dogs back,” said Viruet’s brother Ariel. “Last year, the SPCA removed 10 dogs. They found dead dogs in the basement. He still got them back.”
The city SPCA declined to comment last night. Investigators are aware of the animals’ violent history and were pulling neighbors from their homes yesterday to interview them.
Though the homicide unit has taken over the investigation, Ramos’ exact cause of death is unclear pending an autopsy.
Questions surround woman’s death
Alvarez claims that he discovered Ramos’ lifeless body Tuesday night, police said.
But neighbors doubted his story. “He cared more about the dogs than he did about her,” Viruet said. “She was afraid of him. A couple of times she said he was abusing her.”
“I remember the last time the dogs escaped, [Ramos] said, ‘Oh, when Jose comes home, he’ll be so mad at me,’” Viruet said. “I said, ‘Don’t worry about the dogs. Worry about your life.’”
As far as Ramos’ cause of death, “All indications are that it is, in fact, mauling by dogs,” a police source familiar with the case said. “Whether the man is in trouble for it, that is a long-term investigation and not something that will be decided today or tomorrow.”