A Downey man who sold sick puppies to unsuspecting families was ordered Friday to pay $203,000 in restitution to 63 victims and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Gustavo Gonzalez, 27, was also sentenced to a year on probation and 87 days in jail, with credit waived for nearly two years he has already spent in custody, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Gonzalez, who was sentenced upon pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of selling live animals on the street, was also ordered to undergo one year of counseling for animal cruelty and is barred from owning or being around any animals for the next 10 years, according to the DA's office.
Prosecutors alleged that he sold sick puppies to families throughout Southern California between February 2018 and April 2019, and that most of the animals died after being taken to their new homes.
He was arrested in June 2019 following an investigation by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, spcaLA, the District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation and the Downey Police Department.
"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 George Gascon 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."