LCA Award offer leads to arrest of animal abuser

In February, a 10-month-old Pitbull puppy was found, her face burned, her muzzle wrapped in tape, her skull fractured, with a severed right front paw and a shattered left paw. She was spotted in an unpopulated area of San Bernardino County, California by a couple of good Samaritans who called a local rescue organization that immediately got the puppy veterinary care. Rescuers named her Valentine because she was found so close to Valentine's Day.

Last Chance for Animals (LCA) and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) offered a $5,000.00 reward for any tips leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Valentine's torture. After seeing flyers posting the reward, a woman came forward with information that helped lead authorities to a 17-year -old Lucerne Valley, California resident alleged to have tortured Valentine. The woman wants to remain anonymous for fear of retribution by the youth, his friends or family members.

Tape was tightly wound around Valetine's muzzle
preventing her from fighting back or crying out.

LCA is committed to making sure the person responsible for Valentine's abuse is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This case is exceptional because the alleged abuser is a minor. California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 707 shields minor defendants by statutorily limiting what types of crimes a minor can be deemed fit to be charged as adult. Unfortunately, cruelty to animals IS NOT one of the crimes for which a minor can stand trial as an adult. Letters to the District Attorney's Office requesting that the abuser be charged as an adult will not impact the charging decisions because how he is charged is mandated by law.

However, LCA is working with the San Bernardino District Attorney's Office to make sure all relevant information has been provided to law enforcement and that when the time comes to pay the reward, the tipster receives it.

LCA continues to monitor this case very closely and has been assured by the Chief Deputy DA that this case and all cases involving animal cruelty are taken very seriously. The DA's Office is committed to filing all possible charges in Valetine's case and is well aware of the indisputable link between animal cruelty and other forms of criminal and violent behavior, especially when seen in juveniles. In fact, the FBI recognizes animal cruelty as a "first warning sign of potentially dangerous criminal conduct." The FBI further advises law enforcement agencies that animal cruelty perpetrated by minors is "highly predictive" and may even be a "rehearsal for targeting humans."

Valentine is currently recovering from her injuries, will receive prosthetics
for her injured limbs and then be adopted into a loving home.

The DA's Office is requesting that anyone with information about Valentine or other instances of animal cruelty contact law enforcement immediately. The DA's Office needs this information and evidence to convict the alleged abuser and to make sure he is tried for all crimes committed and then sentenced appropriately.

Everyone, regardless of location, can help animals like Valentine by speaking up about animal abuse. If you witness animal abuse or know it is happening, immediately contact your local law enforcement office, provide them with clear descriptions of the alleged abuse, the animal and the abuser. Do not throw any physical evidence away; leave it where you found it and let law enforcement collect it.

By speaking out against animal abuse and recognizing that people who abuse animals are dangerous you are promoting respect for all of the vulnerable members of our society.


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