Charges have been filed against a Downey man accused of selling more than two dozen sick puppies, many of whom died after being taken home by families across Southern California, officials said Thursday.
Gustavo Gonzalez, 26, was charged with a total of 52 counts, including 28 felony counts of animal cruelty, and one felony count apiece of first-degree residential burglary and grand theft, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. He also faces 22 misdemeanor counts of petty theft.
Gonzalez is accused of selling 28 puppies to 25 families between February 2018 and April 2019. The dogs became "very ill" after being taken home, and most of them died, according to prosecutors.
The charges against him resulted from an investigation by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a statement from the nonprofit animal welfare organization said.
In addition to SPCALA and the DA's office, Downey police and the county's Department of Consumer and Business Affairs are also investigating the case.
Gonzalez is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, the release stated. His bail has been set at $740,000.
He could be sentenced to up to 36 years if convicted as charged.
Prosecutors encouraged potential victims to call the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at 800-593-8222.