WRENTHAM (CBS) – An Easton man accused of leaving six kittens in a crate alongside Interstate 495 on a hot summer day was released on personal recognizance during his arraignment Friday.

Alex Rodriguez, 32, who is facing six counts of animal cruelty related to the May 29 incident, appeared in Wrentham District Court on Friday morning. His attorney, Gregory DiPaolo, issued a not guilty plea on Rodriguez’ behalf.

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Alex Rodriguez, 32, of Easton is facing six counts of animal cruelty. (WBZ-TV)

Prosecutors had requested $500 bail. Thomas L. Finigan released Rodriguez on personal recognizance, and ordered that he not work with any animals and not obtain any new animals. Finigan also ordered that an animal control officer may make visits to Rodriguez’ home to check on the well-being of the cat.

On May 29, a driver told police he was traveling along I-495 when he spotted a crate along the roadway, stopped, and saw the kittens inside. He later took the kittens to the Wrentham Police Department.

Police used a GPS tracking device on Rodriguez’ work vehicle to tie him to the spot along I-495 in Wrentham where the kittens were abandoned, according to court documents.

In his police report, Wrentham Police Detective Robert O’Connell wrote that Rodriguez had denied being in Wrentham that day, and that Rodriguez allegedly told police he had given the kittens away to other people.

“I asked if he was in Wrentham at all, and Rodriguez told me that he was not,” O’Connell wrote.

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Rodriguez’ girlfriend also told Wrentham Police — who had made a public appeal to find the person who had abandoned the kittens — that the kittens were hers and that Rodriguez “got rid of them without her permission,” court documents said.

Police credited social media with helping them to gather information that led them to the suspect, Rodriguez.

Police earlier said the kittens “were facing certain death” if a Good Samaritan had not spotted them. Those commenting on the department’s post were outraged.

“What kind of people could leave those poor helpless animals to die?” one person wrote.

All of the kittens now have new homes.

If convicted of animal cruelty, Rodriguez faces up to 7 years in state prison or up to 2.5 years in jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine.

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Rodriguez is due back in court on Aug. 21.