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April: National Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month

SAN DIEGO — April is National Prevention of Animal Cruelty month, so the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA is reminding the community to be advocates in the fight against animal cruelty and abuse.

The San Diego Humane Society receives more than 2,000 calls of suspected animal cruelty or neglect each year.

“We rely on community information to help our investigations,” said Randy Lawrence, Director of Humane Law Enforcement for the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. “It’s often times the only way we’re able to collect enough evidence to bring animal abusers to justice.”

The San Diego Humane Society responds to more than 1,800 calls of suspected animal cruelty or neglect each year. In the past year alone, more than 20 cruelty investigations have resulted in criminal charges. Here are a few examples of current animal cruelty cases:

MAC: A puppy named Mac was the victim of physical abuse inflicted by his owner – the very person who was supposed to protect him. At 6-months old, Mac’s owner threw him down an embankment out of frustration, fracturing Mac’s rear leg. The San Diego Humane Society’s Humane Law Enforcement Department located three witnesses to the abuse, which made the case against Mac’s perpetrator. In February 2013, Thanh Le pled guilty to 597(a) P.C misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty. Le was fined and charged with 3 years probation, community service and cannot own a pet for three years. While in the care of the San Diego Humane Society, Mac received the veterinary care and rehabilitation he needed and he’s been adopted into a loving home.

Illegal Tethering: Tethered dogs often suffer from lack of socialization, neglect and are at risk of injuries due to the restraint. In California, it is illegal to chain or tether a dog to any stationary object. Defendant Jose Magana illegally tethered his 5 dogs, one of which died from strangulation when he attempted to jump over a fence while illegally restrained. Magana pled guilty to illegal tethering (122335 Health and Safety code) last month. He’s received five years probation and is allowed one dog only.

Neglect of Horses: In January, Humane Officers seized 13 Arabian horses after receiving a report of severely neglected horses. An investigation determined that six of the horses were emaciated and in very poor physical health. Since then, the San Diego Humane Society has been providing the horses with medical care, nourishment and affection until they were well enough to be adopted. The criminal case against the owner is currently pending and seven horses are currently available for adoption.

Animal Abuse: Manuel Lizaola was arrested on March 27 on $25,000 bail for animal cruelty charges. The San Diego Humane Society’s Humane Law Enforcement completed an investigation after receiving a call about the death of a Chihuahua. A necropsy was performed and showed that the dog died of blunt force trauma to the abdomen causing a lacerated liver. The investigation identified Manuel Lizaola as the alleged suspect and the District Attorney issued the arrest warrant. Lizaola was recently arrested and has a court appearance scheduled for April 11th.

Embedded Collar: Sergio Lopez pled guilty on March 19th to a felony count of animal cruelty after his dog was found with an embedded collar. The dog was illegally tethered to a heavy chain and the collar was severely embedded into the dog’s neck. Lopez’ sentencing is scheduled for April 17.

Lawrence continues, “Studies show strong links between individuals who neglect and abuse animals and those that commit crimes against people. Domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, and other violent crimes are all strongly linked to animal abuse — so even if you’re not necessarily an animal lover, you should be concerned about animal cruelty in your neighborhood.”

Animal-related concerns can be submitted on the San Diego Humane Society’s website or by calling 619-243-3466.

About the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA

Serving San Diego County since 1880, the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA’s scope of social responsibility goes beyond adopting animals. The Humane Society offers San Diegans a wide range of programs and services that strengthen the human-animal bond, prevent cruelty/neglect, provide medical care and educate the community on the humane treatment of animals.

As one of San Diego’s oldest nonprofit organizations, the Humane Society has campuses in both San Diego and Oceanside and is supported solely through contributions, grants, bequests, investments, proceeds from the Muttique retail store, and small fees for services. For more information or to see current animals available for adoption, please visit www.sdhumane.org.