This story is about the terrible neglect that a dog suffered that almost killed him! but for the continual pressure and calls from neighbors, he would be dead. Not only is the owner’s neglect beyond shameful, what is also shameful is the fact that it took as long at it did for animal control to finally come to the dog’s aid and the fact that after such blatant and long going neglect, the owner is only being charged with a misdemeanor!

Please read Rocky’s story and help!

There are two young male boxers “guarding” a junkyard off Imperial Highway in Downey, California. One boxer, Rocky, is very sweet, friendly, and enjoys the attention of anyone who comes near the junkyard. The other, Teagre, is bigger, stronger. He has a tough bark and tough demeanor. Deep down he is a pussycat that occasionally shows his soft side.

Los Angeles County employees work in the building next to the junkyard. They notice that Rocky, already quite thin, is losing weight and begin to feed Rocky through the fence. The owner, apparently frustrated by the feeding of Rocky, blocks off that area of the junkyard so that employees can no longer feed Rocky.

In early November, the county employees become alarmed at Rocky’s condition. He is extremely thin, congested, and coughing. Many calls are being made to Southeast Area Animal Control Authority (SEAACA), local animal control, about Rocky’s weight and circumstance. Rocky becomes known at SEAACA as “the boxer on Imperial Highway”.

On December 4, 2007 the owner, Armando Preciado, takes Rocky to the SEAACA vet. Rocky is very sick and extremely thin. The vet tells the owner that Rocky needs several prescriptions. The owner refuses to purchase any medicine.

The dogs have no shelter. It has been a very cold and wet winter. In January 2008, the employees next to the junkyard are frantic, calling and visiting SEAACA (animal control) frequently. Rocky is emaciated and has a difficult time breathing. Nothing happens.

In desperation, on February 1, 2008 the Downey mayor is emailed to request help in getting SEAACA to react to Rocky’s critical health situation. On the morning of February 2, Rocky’s owner, Armando Preciado, takes Rocky to a vet. Rocky, a full grown 2 year old boxer weighs 33lbs. His temperature is 103 degrees and he has blood in his diarrhea. A blood test is taken; no treatment is given. Rocky is taken back to the junkyard.

The county employees plead with Preciador to relinquish Rocky to the care of Boxer Rescue, LA. The owner refuses. At 6:30PM, Preciado calls BoxerRescue LA (BRLA). BRLA picks Rocky up at 7:30PM.

Rocky is fed, and treated with love and care. He spends the night in a warm bed in a house for probably the first time in his life.

On February 3, Rocky is taken to Eagle Rock Emergency Clinic for immediate attention. Rocky is “absolutely emaciated, skin on bone” according to the vet. X-rays show he has severe pneumonia. His white blood cell count is off the charts at 73,000. As he is held in a BRLA volunteer’s arms, Rocky is euthanized.

On February 11, BRLA and the county employees working next to the junkyard meet with SEAACA (animal control) to address their disregard and inaction to complaints of Rocky’s abuse, the filing of charges against Rocky’s owner, and removal of Teagre.

Charges were filed against Armando Preciado on Tuesday, 4/1. The actual charges were determined by the Deputy District Attorney, David Chang, located in Downey. SEAACA recommended charges of felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Deputy DA Chang only charged Preciado with misdemeanor neglect in violation of Cal. Penal Code 597.1a. It reads:

Every owner, driver, or keeper of any animal who permits the animal to be in any building, enclosure, lane, street, square, or lot of any city, county, city and county, or judicial district without proper care and attention is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

That same section authorizes animal control to seize any animal if it is reasonably believed very prompt action is necessary to protect its health and safety. Even if SEACCA did not reasonably believe very prompt action was needed at any point, this section allows seizure upon notice to the owner and opportunity for a hearing. Cal. Pen. Code §597.1 SEAACA did nothing.

Under California law veterinarians have a duty to report abuse or cruelty to an animal including animals kept in violation of §597.1a. Cal Bus & Prof Code § 4830.7 The vet here did nothing.

The arraignment hearing is Thursday, April 17 at 8:30 at Downey Courthouse, 7500 E. Imperial Hwy. The case # is 8DY02231. It is very important that as many people as possible come to this hearing.

The District Attorney (and the Judge) need to see that many people are supporting this and they can’t ignore what happened to Rocky. Mr. Chang views this case as unimportant. He would like to make this case “go away”.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Please attend the hearing and also, and if you cannot attend, please write or call the Deputy District Attorney handling this case, David Chang, and the District Attorney Steve Cooley, and urge them to charge Preciado with felony animal cruelty under Cal. Penal Code §597a and/or at least insist on jail time, fines, community service and a ban on owning or keeping any animals in the future. Urge the District Attorney to take animal cruelty seriously and investigate SEAACA’s failure to protect this dog.

David Chang
District Attorney’s Office-Co. of Los Angeles
7500 East Imperial Highway, Rm 324
Downey, CA 90242
562-803-7114 or (562) 803-1430; Fax 562-803-0151

Steve Cooley
Los Angeles County District Attorney
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

213-974-3512; Fax: 213-974-1484

Email Deputy DA David Chang and DA Steve Cooley at webmail@da.lacounty.gov or use the email contact form http://da.co.la.ca.us/feedback.htm#feedback

Please reference the case #8DY02231.

Let’s make it right for Rocky and all other animals being abused, killed and neglected.

Update April 11, 2008: Your calls and letters are having an effect. The prosecutors may be considering filing felony charges. Keep up the pressure. Here are names and numbers of 2 more Deputy District Attorneys involved. Tell them you want justice for Rocky, that his cruel treatment should be treated as a felony.

Mark Ashen – Head Deputy DA
562-803-7100 (general #–ask to leave him a message or voice mail)

Ryan Williams (Deputy DA who will be handling the arraignment hearing) 562-803-7121

Thanks for the heads up on this Doni!

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