A man who owned several pet stores throughout San Diego County pleaded guilty to animal abuse and was sentenced to five years probation on Monday, our media partners, the North County Times reported.
Fifty-seven puppies, several rabbits, birds, a turtle and a seven-foot-long python were among the animals rescued in a recent raid by the San Diego Humane Society.
Johnson Le, 28, was arrested in June following the March raid. SPCA and the San Diego Humane Society received complaints that the store closed and left their animals inside.
Click here to see a gallery of some of the pets seized in March.
The two agencies seized the animals from his parents' home where he lived and at pet stores in Clairemont, Rolando and Oceanside where he operated his business.
At the home and pet stores, authorities said the sanitation was poor and Le bred dogs under bad conditions.
Officials were tipped off to the conditions after they came across a sick dog at Nadines Puppies in Oceanisde, where Le operated his business. A woman then came forward and accused Le of selling her a sick puppy.
"That puppy actually died from parvo four days after the citizen bought it," said Randy Lawrence with the San Diego Humane Society. "So we knew we were dealing with potentially sick puppies in this case."
Investigators found that Le had a history of abuse. In 2003, the county seized more than 60 animals from him. In 2004 he was convicted on charges of mistreatment.
"In this case, we're dealing with a gentleman we believe was to make money and the condition and welfare of the animals was not his primary focus," Lawrence said.
The Humane Society put some of the animals up for adoption.
“Typically, animals that come from conditions like these need a lot of supportive medical and behavioral care,” said Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society. “These animals have received exemplary care from our medical and behavioral staff, and will continue to receive that high level of care until they are adopted."