San Benito County Man Gets One Year in Jail for Felony Animal Cruelty
Above: Stock Image
The San Benito County District Attorney’s Office has announced the sentencing of a man recently convicted on a felony charge of animal cruelty. The charge was in connection to an attack on his neighbor’s dog.
According to a press release by the District Attorney’s Office, Walter Monzon, a resident of San Benito County, was sentenced to a year in county jail after being found guilty of cruelty to an animal, a felony offense under Penal Code §597(a), on Thursday, July 13. The sentence will be served through actual physical custody, without eligibility for alternative programs such as electronic monitoring or weekend/work release.
The conviction stemmed from an incident reported to the San Benito County Sheriff’s Department, where Monzon was accused of choking his neighbor’s dog. When approached by law enforcement, Monzon reportedly claimed that he believed the “devil was in the dog.” Additionally, evidence suggested recent methamphetamine use, with Monzon reportedly admitting to using the drug approximately an hour before the encounter with law enforcement.
Despite having a minimal prior record, the District Attorney’s Office sought and obtained a felony conviction due to the severity of the animal cruelty. The sentence imposed reflects the prosecution’s commitment to holding individuals accountable for such conduct. It is worth noting that the dog did not sustain serious injuries during the incident.
Deputy District Attorney Victor Alfaro, who owns and cares for a dog himself, led the prosecution of the case. The San Benito County Sheriff’s deputies, M. Charlesworth and D. Zanella, were credited by the District Attorney’s Office for their thorough and effective investigation in connection with the case.
According to the Humane Society, intentional cruelty to animals is often strongly correlated with other crimes, such as the eventual victimization of other people. The animals most commonly subjected to reported abuse are dogs, cats, horses, and livestock. Animal cruelty can also correlate with hoarding disorder, as an individual suffering from the disorder can feel compelled to house far more animals than they are able to care for, resulting in neglect.