LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today that his office has filed five charges of animal neglect and one charge of maintaining a dog kennel without a permit against Oscar Alonso Melgar, whose alleged mistreatment of five boxers led to them being severely malnourished and infested with ticks while living in unsanitary conditions without water. Melgar faces up to three years in County jail and a fine of six thousand dollars.
"I take protecting the welfare and safety of pets and all animals very seriously. They should be cherished," said Feuer. "When they’re mistreated, as we allege in this case, we will vigorously prosecute. I want to commend our partners at the Department of Animal Services whose decisive work likely saved these dogs' lives."
"In the interest of public safety for our most vulnerable animals, Los Angeles Animal Services is pleased to work closely and successfully with the City Attorney's Office," said General Manager Brenda Barnette.
Responding to a complaint, Animal Control Officers from the City’s Department of Animal Services allegedly discovered the five boxers in an unkempt, enclosed dirt yard. From the sidewalk, the Officers reportedly observed that the dogs were covered with ticks on their noses, mouths, ears and cheeks, The Officers further noted that the dogs appeared very malnourished, with clearly visible bones. Concerned for their welfare, Officers contacted the owner of the property who surrendered ownership of the dogs at the scene.
The five dogs – Puppy, Bruno, Brando, Blanca and Spot – ranged in age from eight months to five years. In addition to their very poor physical state, they allegedly exhibited non-socialized behavior. They were unfriendly, would run away when approached, hide under parked cars on the property and growl.
All five dogs were transported for immediate medical attention. They were treated for flea and tick infestations which, if left untreated, could lead to serious infections, illness and death. One of the dogs, Blanca, was found to be pregnant and she gave birth to three healthy puppies while under Animal Services’ care. All three were adopted.
Further investigation by Animal Control Officers revealed that Melgar may have been in possession of up to half a dozen dogs on the property at any one time over the past four years during which time he allegedly bred puppies for profit. Neighbors reported the unsanitary, unhealthy living conditions of the animals, the prevalence of ticks which began infesting neighboring properties, and the regular lack of water for the animals. This was such a concern that a neighbor allegedly started to give water to the thirsty dogs.
This case highlights that animal welfare is critical to safeguarding the health and safety of our neighborhoods. If you’d like to report potential abuse, contact the LAPD Animal Cruelty Task Force, at 213-486-0450, or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about this task force at LA Animal Services.
Deputy City Attorney Eric Rosenblatt and Deputy City Attorney Dennis Kong are managing this prosecution.
Arraignment for Melgar is set for October 20, at 8:30am in Department 47.
Read the complaints here.