July court hearing set for SP man whose dogs were seized by SPPD

June 06, 2014
Santa Paula News

A Santa Paula man whose dogs were seized in March will face a court hearing in July stemming from charges of animal neglect.

In the interim, he can reclaim the animals although a Santa Paula Police official said the man would be responsible for thousands of dollars in costs related to the animals medical treatment, board and care.

The case garnered international attention after a Santa Paula Animal Control Officer and a Humane Society trained former officer with the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center (SPARC) - who happened to be doing a ride-along - responded to a morning call of dogs fighting in the 500 block of North 14th Street.

When the men arrived police said they found multiple dogs, adults and puppies being housed together in kennels, makeshift kennels, and tethered to a pole, in the backyard of Silvano Duran’s home.

Duran was not at home at the time.

There were 17 dogs in all on the property: according to the SPPD press release, “Dogs that were allowed to roam free were fighting other dogs roaming the yard, and dogs in a kennel were actively mauling one dog through the kennel’s wire wall. Little to no food was found in the yard and the number of dogs exceeded the amount,” permitted by city ordinance.  In addition, “All the dogs in the rear yard were either covered in blood or feces or both, including young puppies.”

The dogs were seized and all 17 transferred to the care of the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center (SPARC).

Duran later visited police and asked that the dogs, primarily pit bulls and pit bull mixes, be returned to him, a request that was denied. He asked for 11 of the animals noting that the balance were strays and/or owned by others.

One dog, whose leg was severely chewed during the fighting, and a second injured dog had to be hospitalized. 

Duran retained defense attorney Ron Bamieh who issued a statement that Duran had always been a responsible pet owner who even took in strays.

SPARC continued to care for the dogs: on April 9 a hearing was conducted by a Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals hearing officer who later found that the seizure of Duran’s animals was justified to protect their health and safety.                    

Santa Paula Police Commander Ish Cordero said a warrant was issued for Duran’s arrest May 23.

Duran showed up to face the charges and was arraigned May 30.

As a result of the arraignment, the case was continued to July 8 for an early disposition conference.

Cordero said Wednesday that SPARC continues to house the dogs, except one found to be missing from Oxnard. Due to widely circulated photos of the dogs the Oxnard residents recognized their own animal, which Cordero said was returned once ownership was proven.

Reportedly costs incurred for medical treatment and to care for the dogs is near $50,000.

Cordero said Duran can claim the dogs “If he antis up the costs... if he wants them back he’s going to have to pay the costs, he is responsible for that.”

Charges filed against Duran include multiple counts of failure to care for animals, neglect of animals, a law that Cordero said includes animals that are found to be injured, sick, or disabled. Duran is also charged with keeping animals in a confined area without providing an adequate exercise area.

Duran is also charged with violating several city ordinances requiring licensing and animal care.

Duran was not charged with any violations related to dog fighting.

Said Cordero, “We were there because the animals were neglected, obviously he was in charge of those animals and he failed to properly take care of them and make sure they were in a healthy environment.”

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