MURRIETA (CNS) – A 36-year-old man suspected of failing to seek medical care for two injured dogs — one of which died — on a Mead Valley property, where authorities allege he was keeping more than the legal limit of canines without a kennel permit, was behind bars Wednesday.
Lorenzo Angelo Gutierrez was arrested and booked into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta Tuesday on suspicion of two counts of felony animal cruelty. Gutierrez is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail.
An associate of the suspect, Gloria Esther Lopez, was identified as an alleged perpetrator of the same acts of cruelty, but she was not arrested, according to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.
“We are committed to pursuing animal cruelty cases whenever and wherever they occur in Riverside County,” agency Director Erin Gettis said. “Pet owners have an obligation to provide safe and healthy environments for the animals in their care.”
An investigation of Gutierrez was initiated on Jan. 10, when a good Samaritan provided information to animal control personnel regarding the death of a puppy that had been severely injured after it was attacked by other dogs where Gutierrez resided on a remote parcel in the 21400 block of Salter Road, on the south end of Mead Valley, according to Department of Animal Services spokeswoman Kerri Mabee.
She said a necropsy exam was later performed on the dead pup, confirming it had suffered ultimately fatal wounds that allegedly went untreated.
Officials said sheriff’s deputies and Department of Code Enforcement officers had visited the location in the past in response to various complaints, and Gutierrez was cited for not having a kennel license while possessing canines over the defined limit in an unincorporated dwelling, which is four.
After the puppy died at the property, animal control officers learned that another canine belonging to Gutierrez had been hit by a vehicle and suffered injuries that went untreated for six weeks, Mabee said.
“The dog that was hit … survived and was taken in by an individual, who treated its injuries,” she told City News Service.
Mabee said animal control officers went to the property on Feb. 1, and Gutierrez “relinquished ownership of six dogs, including three 4-month-olds.”
Another nine canines were impounded when the suspect was taken into custody Tuesday, she said.
Department of Animal Services Commander Josh Sisler said much is owed to the good Samaritan, whose identity was not disclosed, for revealing what had happened to the puppy and the fact that dogs were being kept at the property without food or water.
“We are grateful to the individual … and encourage all residents to reach out to animal services with concerns about the welfare and neglect of animals,” Sisler said.
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