A rabbit breeder in Aptos near Santa Cruz, California will serve time in jail after having been convicted of animal abuse. Mario Albert De La Garza was sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years probation after a jury found him guilty of not taking proper care of more than 100 rabbits. The sentence was handed down by Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge John Salazar.
Calvin Men reported on the story in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Here are some highlights:
De La Garza, who waived the help of the public defenders office and acted as his own attorney, testified during the trial that he tried to use natural selection and genetic techniques to create a new breed of rabbit.
Since 2004, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter had been monitoring De La Garza’s breeding facility on Freedom Boulevard and Hidden Oaks Lane. Shelter staff found the operation in compliance during several visits.
But during an unannounced visit in November 2011, staff found 114 rabbits covered in urine and feces. Many had untreated health problems and some lived in cages with 4 inches or more of excrement on the floor.
As a part of his sentence, De La Garza also was prohibited from owning or breeding any animals.
Prosecutor Nicole Jones had recommended the court sentence De La Garza to a year in jail in addition to the other terms.
Jones justified the recommendation by explaining that the rabbits were found in horrible condition on De La Garza’s property when they were seized, describing rabbits with cuts on their bodies, overgrown nails and bunnies who had not been fed.
To read the complete article, please go to http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_23784888/aptos-rabbit-breeder-sentenced-five-years-probation-90
Hoppington Post would like to express our gratitude to the Rabbit Haven rabbit rescue and its director Heather Bechtel for taking in the 114 rabbits. After then have been rehabilitated and spayed or neutered, we hope they will be able to find loving homes.