A Downey man was ordered Friday to pay more than $200,000 in restitution for selling sick puppies to families across Southern California, officials said.
Gustavo Gonzalez, 27, pleaded no contest Friday to one misdemeanor count of selling live animals on the street, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said in a news release.
He was also ordered to pay restitution to 63 victims and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles for a total of $203,000, according to the DA’s office.
Gonzalez was sentenced to 87 days in jail, placed on probation for a year and “waived time credits for the nearly two years he has spent in jail,” according to the DA’s release.
He was originally facing charges for 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.
As a result of his plea, Gonzalez was ordered to undergo one year of counseling for animal cruelty and is prohibited from owning or being around any animals for the next 10 years.
From February 2018 to April 2019, Gonzalez allegedly sold sick puppies to families throughout Southern California, the DA’s office said. Most of the puppies died after the families who purchased them brought the pets home, prosecutors said.
“The pets that we bring into our homes become a beloved part of our family. Trying to sell sick puppies to unsuspecting people is just plain wrong,” L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. “That’s why it’s so important to use established animal shelters or pet adoption agencies so that we avoid becoming victims and also help end the market for unscrupulous illegal dog breeders.”