Dog train­ers ac­cused of abuse to do time

One re­ceived five years in prison, the other six months in jail

The Signal - - NEWS - By Jim Holt Sig­nal Se­nior Staff Writer jholt@sig­ 661-287-5527

Two Ac­ton dog train­ers ac­cused of abus­ing more than two dozen dogs in their care were sen­tenced re­cently, one net­ting five years in prison, the other six months in jail.

Ju­nior Bar­il­las Mo­rales, 28, and 24-year-old Natasha Elena Ah­mad ap­peared May 30 in An­te­lope Val­ley Su­pe­rior Court where they pleaded no con­test for abus­ing 26 dogs un­der their care, said Ri­cardo San­ti­ago, spokesman for the Los An­ge­les County Dis­trict At­tor­ney's Of­fice.

Mo­rales and Ah­mad each en­tered a plea to one felony count of an­i­mal cru­elty.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Mo­rales pleaded to two ad­di­tional felony counts of an­i­mal cru­elty, one felony count of child abuse and one mis­de­meanor count of an­i­mal cru­elty.

Deputy Dis­trict At­tor­ney Amar­illa Blon­dia said de­fen­dant Mo­rales was im­me­di­ately sen­tenced to five years in state prison.

Ah­mad was sen­tenced to six months in jail, five years of for­mal pro­ba­tion, 45 days of com­mu­nity la­bor, an­i­mal ne­glect classes and ad­di­tional con­di­tions im­posed by the court in­clud­ing a pro­hi­bi­tion on own­ing or pos­sess­ing any an­i­mals for 10 years.

The de­fen­dants op­er­ated a dog train­ing busi­ness called Real Deal K-9's, ac­cord­ing to tes­ti­mony at the pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing.

Close to four dozen dogs were found at the op­er­a­tion when au­thor­i­ties moved in.

“There were a to­tal of 45 dogs con­fis­cated, two of which were found dead. All the other live dogs were nursed back to health and adopted,” Don Bel­ton, spokes­woman for the Los An­ge­les County Depart­ment of An­i­mal Care and Con­trol said Mon­day.

“A to­tal of 43 dogs were adopted,” she said.

Cus­tomers of the busi­ness al­lege they paid thou­sands of dol­lars and re­ceived very sick, thin dogs.

On Feb. 7, 2017, three very thin dogs were dis­cov­ered by neigh­bors, ac­cord­ing to ev­i­dence pre­sented at the pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing.

A sub­se­quent in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­cov­ered two de­ceased dogs and eight ad­di­tional dogs in the de­fen­dant's prop­erty.

One of the live dogs had to have a leg am­pu­tated due to an un­treated in­fec­tion, the pros­e­cu­tor said.

On May 2, 2017, in­ves­ti­ga­tors search­ing the de­fen­dant's home al­legedly found a loaded gun in a sofa where the cou­ple's three chil­dren, ages 1, 4 and 7, could find it, the pros­e­cu­tor added. The home was ex­tremely dirty and a to­tal of 24 dogs were seized dur­ing that search, ac­cord­ing to court tes­ti­mony.

The case was in­ves­ti­gated by the Dis­trict At­tor­ney's Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion and the County of Los An­ge­les Depart­ment of An­i­mal Care and Con­trol.

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