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Compton animal rescue owner faces neglect, cruelty charges

The owner of a non-profit animal rescue in Compton is facing arraignment on 25 felony counts of animal cruelty by neglect involving more than two-dozen dogs The charges come after search warrants were served Jan. 3 by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation...

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Animals deemed ‘severely underweight’

The owner of a non-profit animal rescue in Compton is facing arraignment on 25 felony counts of animal cruelty by neglect involving more than two-dozen dogs
The charges come after search warrants were served Jan. 3 by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) at two locations in Compton that were linked to Damian Wesley and Compton Animal Rescue, according to a statement released by the D.A.’s Office.

About 145 live animals–the vast majority of which were found to be severely underweight and suffering from various illnesses–and 12 animal carcasses were found during the searches, according to the statement.

Wesley allegedly saw the conditions of 25 animals described as distressed and had time to respond, but failed to act, according to the D.A.’s Office.

The animals seized were primarily dogs, but included cats, chickens, rabbits, turtles, a tortoise, a rooster, a snake, a hamster, a hawk and several lizards, according to Department of Animal Care and Control officials, who announced that more than 100 of the confiscated animals had been cleared for adoption in mid-February after undergoing medical evaluation and treatment. It was not immediately clear how many of those animals have been adopted since then.

“DACC obtained the warrants based on multiple complaints of neglect and mistreatment from members of the community about this organization,” DACC spokesman Don Belton said in a statement released in February. “After investigating, warrants were issued due to the animal rescue organization’s noncompliance with State and County animal care laws.”

Wesley was ordered last month not to own or possess any animals, and was ordered to provide proof that he has relinquished all animals at his arraignment April 17 at the Compton courthouse, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
He could face up to 11 years in county jail if convicted as charged, the D.A.’s Office said.

“Our community relies on animal rescues to properly care for animals as they await their new homes,” District Attorney George Gascón said in the statement announcing the criminal charges. “The suffering endured by these innocent animals is incomprehensible and will not be tolerated in our community.”

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