Downey Man Pleads to Selling Over Two Dozen Sick Puppies

Los Angeles, CA — Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced today that a man who sold dozens of sick puppies to unsuspecting families will be paying more than $200,000 in restitution to the victims.

Gustavo Gonzalez (dob 4/1/93) of Downey pleaded no contest today to one misdemeanor count of selling live animals on the street.

Golden Retriver puppy held by animal rescue team member in front of spcaLA van

Gonzalez was immediately sentenced to one year of probation, waived any time credits for the nearly two years he has spent in jail and ordered to pay restitution to 63 victims and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles a total of $203,000.

“The world is full of people who will prey on others for money. In this case, it is at the expense of the suffering of helpless puppies and heartbroken families left with nothing but veterinary bills,” said Madeline Bernstein, President spcaLA. “I’m glad he is required to pay restitution to his human victims, but let us not create a demand for these ‘sick puppy peddlers’ by buying dogs from the internet and social media.”

“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,” District Attorney Gascón said. “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.”

As a result of the plea, the defendant also 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 sold sick puppies to families throughout Southern California. Most of the puppies died after the victims brought them to their homes, prosecutors said.

The case was investigated by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business (DCBA), the District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation and the Downey Police Department.

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. spcaLA is a non-profit agency that relies on donations for its programs and services, including animal cruelty investigations. To donate, please visit or call 323-730-5300 x3233.