Los Angeles, CA – Rather than stand trial on October 16, 2017, defendant Aurelio Gonzalez (DOB: 09/22/1975) pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count Penal Code 597j, animal cruelty (possession of gamecocks for fighting purposes) at East Los Angeles Courthouse (Court Case #O6ES01879). Gonzalez was ordered to serve 20 days in county jail, to take 10 level-2 animal cruelty classes, to pay $820 in restitution, to not own animals for five years, and to be placed on probation for two years during which time he must surrender his search and seizure rights. The charges are the result of an investigation by Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA).

“Animal cruelty doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it’s usually accompanied by other criminal activity,” said spcaLA President, Madeline Bernstein. “In this case, we’ve got a perpetrator on probation for felonies whose decision to keep birds for cockfighting not only violates his probation, it leads to new criminal charges.”

In March 2016, spcaLA Humane Officer, Corporal Gary Wilson was conducting an investigation in City Terrace, CA when he heard multiple roosters crowing. Following the noise, Cpl. Wilson observed a rooster whose comb, wattle, spur, tail, and feathers had been altered in the manner of a gamecock in the backyard of Gonzalez’s residence.

Further investigation lead to the discovery of twenty-one (21) gamecock/game fowl, as well as other birds, chicks, and eggs, and tools, enclosures, vitamins, supplies, and other paraphernalia associated with cockfighting. At the time, Gonzalez was on Post-Release Community Supervision (PRCS) and had been issued thirty-six (36) conditions of probation for felony charges including the sale/transportation of narcotics and evading peace officers. Los Angeles County Department of Care and Control took possession of the birds found. spcaLA worked with Police Officers from the probation compliance task force (consisting of officers from different departments) to complete the investigation.

spcaLA is the only private animal welfare organization in Los Angeles that is also Law Enforcement. spcaLA Humane Officers hold the same powers of Peace Officers in the state of California when investigating animal cruelty.

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