Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19042
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: horse, other farm animal
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Friday, Dec 2, 2011

County: San Bernardino

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Joe Adriano Meneses Avila

Prosecutors filed animal-cruelty charges Thursday against an Ontario man who allegedly kept 32 malnourished and emaciated horses and a donkey at a former dairy on a diet consisting only of rotting fruit and vegetables.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office filed nine felony counts of animal cruelty against the owner of the animals, Joe Adriano Meneses Avila, in West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga, Deputy District Attorney Debbie Ploghaus said.

"All of them, basically, are skin and bones," Ploghaus said. "They all have some type of injuries on them."

Avila, 55, is scheduled to appear Feb. 2 in Superior Court for arraignment on the charges.

The horses and donkey were discovered Dec. 2 on land that was a former dairy, in the 13000 block of Haven Avenue, in Ontario, according to prosecutors. The land was being rented by the Avilas.

The animals Avila had - stallions mixed with females, babies and geldings - normally wouldn't all herd together, said investigators with Inland Valley Humane Society and ASPCA in Pomona.

Prosecutors allege that Avila bought the animals from an auction, kept them at the location and fed them only rotting fruit and vegetables. The horses and donkey had been fighting each other for food that was basically inedible, prosecutors said.

Some of the animals had open wounds that were abscessing. Others had wounds, such as possible broken limbs, that had not healed correctly, according to investigators.

Some of the horses were too old or not strong enough to fight for food, Ploghaus said. One horse died there, and another died that night. Six more had to be euthanized by veterinarians.

"It was horrendous. Unfortunately, that's one the problems we run into," said Beth Les, an investigator with Inland Valley Humane Society and ASPCA. "This isn't a one-time thing. This isn't something we only come across every five years."


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