See the update at the end of this post on the defendants' guilty pleas and sentences.
ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 25, 8:02 A.M.: A mother and son are scheduled to be arraigned in Newport Beach this morning on charges of abusing and abandoning
30 dogs in a South County park.
Rancho Santa Margarita's Flordeliza Aguillo Escano, 59, and James Francis Alambra, 26, face jail time and thousands of dollars in fines if they are convicted of the pending animal neglect, mistreatment and abandonment counts.
Visitors to San Remo Park in
Laguna Hills found two crates containing dogs with matted fur and ingrown toenails. That led to an Orange County Sheriff's Department investigation that found that on the afternoon of May 20, Escano and her son drove to the park's parkling lot, unloaded the crates with 14 and 16 neglected dogs inside respectively and left them next to trees near a road, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA).
However, when the pair tried to drive off, the truck would not start. They were later picked up by another woman who was unaware of the animal abandonment, alleges the OCDA, which claims the dogs were packed tightly into the crates, with no food or water.
Escano is charged with one misdemeanor count each of animal
abandonment, animal mistreatment and animal neglect that could earn her up to 18 months in jail and $3,000 in
fines with a conviction. Alambra faces a misdemeanor count each of animal abandonment and animal
mistreatment and the possibility of a year in jail and $2,000
Their arraignment is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Harbor Justice Center.
UPDATE, SEPT. 25, 2:42 P.M.: Escano pleaded guilty today to one
misdemeanor count each of animal abandonment, animal mistreatment and
animal neglect, according to an Orange County District Attorney's office statement.
The mother was sentenced to 180 days in jail and three years of informal
probation, ordered to pay restitution and undergo mental health counseling for a year, and forbidden from owning, living with or possessing animals.
Alambra copped to a misdemeanor count of animal abandonment and was sentenced to
60 days in jail and three years of informal probation, ordered to undergo mental health counseling for three months,
and prohibited from owning, living or possessing animals.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.