LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A man who allegedly kept five dogs on a property in unsanitary conditions that led to them being severely malnourished, infested with ticks and living without sufficient water has been charged with a half-dozen misdemeanor charges, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today.
Oscar Alonso Melgar, 36, is set to be arraigned Oct. 20 at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse on five counts of animal neglect and one count of maintaining a dog kennel without a permit, according to the City Attorney's Office.
He could face up to three years in county jail and a fine of $6,000 if convicted of the charges.
The five boxers -- named Puppy, Bruno, Brando, Blanca and Spot -- ranged in age from eight months to five years, with one of the dogs subsequently giving birth to three healthy puppies, according to the city attorney.
“This case was an example of animal neglect that we are trying to prevent from happening to other animals,'' said Lt. Calin Spariosu with the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services. “The suspect in this case had every opportunity to seek the necessary care for his animals, but he failed to ... The conditions of these dogs improved dramatically once they were in the care of our department and we are proud to say they've all been adopted.''
Feuer lauded LAAS for its work, which he said “likely saved the lives of these dogs, who now have happy homes.''
Animal control officers who were responding to a complaint found the five boxer dogs in an “unkempt, enclosed dirt yard'' in the central part of the city, Feuer said in announcing the charges.
“From the sidewalk, officers observed that the dogs were covered with ticks on their noses and the mouths, ears and on their cheeks. The officers further noted that the dogs appeared to be severely malnourished. They could see their bones through the skin.''
The dogs also allegedly exhibited “very problematic and non-socialized behavior,'' including trying to hide when they were approached, growling and being “generally unfriendly,'' the city attorney said.
The dogs were surrendered at the scene and taken for immediate medical treatment, include flea and tick infestation, according to Feuer.
An ensuing investigation by animal control officers revealed that Melgar might have been in possession of up to a half-dozen dogs on the property at any one time over the past four years, during which time he allegedly bred puppies for profit, the city attorney said.
“In fact, neighbors had reported unsanitary conditions at this property and had even provided water to the dogs at the property because they were so concerned,'' Feuer said.
The city's Department of Animal Services is “actively pursuing and investigating any and all animal humane complaints submitted by the public,'' Spariosu said, urging anyone who feels they have witnessed animal neglect or cruelty to report it to their local animal shelter by calling 888-452-7381 or dialing 311.
Photos: Los Angles City Attorney's Office