ABC7's interview with Brunette from jail

August 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Here is the transcript of ABC7's phone interview with Robert Brunette from the Santa Cruz County Jail on Friday, August 1, 2008. This interview was recorded with Brunette's permission.

ABC7: Do you want to tell me very briefly, what is going on, why are you in jail? What did you do wrong or what do you think you didn't do wrong?

Brunette: I don't think I did anything wrong really, I was on my private property, I had my dogs, I lived the life I want to live. Uh...I don't abuse dogs. I keep them fed I play with them take them for walks. And umm... guys down at animal control services came here three years ago trying to take my dogs away and I fought them in court and I won. This tough guy came up there did surveillance and was kinda hanging around there for the last three years information trying to get in there and then took my dogs.

ABC7: Wow, so you think you've been a victim of some sort of a government witch hunt or something? Brunette: Yeah...it really seems like it.

ABC7: Well I guess the facts we received were you were breeding dogs to become a mean breed or a macho breed?

Brunette: I breed dogs to my watch property and keep myself safe. It's my own bloodline that developed over the past 20 years. It's my breed. I don't... I breed them to be strong and tough. I don't train them to be vicious or anything.

ABC7: Would that be a correct characterization to say that you do breed dogs to be macho? Brunette: No...that wouldn't be at all.

ABC7: But I mean do you have to breed dogs to guard your property and yourself, can't just a regular guard dog do that?

Brunette: That's what they are. They're regular guard dogs but they're my own bloodline, that you know my voice, know my way of life... that's why I keep bloodlines going so you don't lose that genetic of the dogs that respond to you and kinda do what you want to do and live your lifestyle.

ABC7: For people that just have regular dogs as house pets this might come off as unusual, hearing you talk about specific genetic bloodlines for guard dogs, dogs for protection. What do you say to people that think it's unusual?

Brunette: I don't think it's unusual, because we developed Rottweilers...German Shepherds... we developed different bloodlines...

ABC7: Do you see yourself you know like a modern day dog breeder like anybody else who breed those kind of dogs that we know have a reputation for getting in the news?

Brunette: No, not necessarily, I'm just... I breed to keep my bloodlines going. Like I said I've had problems with different poisoned dogs. I've had county officials out there... I don't know if they've done that... so I lose about four dogs a year from some kind of poison or something weird... so I breed new dogs each day to keep my bloodline 'cuz so there are different number of dogs to watch my property.

ABC7: What is it sir on your property that you're trying to protect?

Brunette: Ummm... that's exactly what's going on right now.

ABC7: Which is what?

Brunette: Well from letting somebody in and you know trying to protect my lifestyle. You know, taking my freedom away.

ABC7: How would you describe your lifestyle?

Brunette: I'm a very private individual. I don't like people watching me all the time or I don't know, going about my property. Umm... I like doing the things I wanna do, and play with my dogs, and live out in the woods.

ABC7: Do you intentionally let dogs die in your care?

Brunette: No I don't. I intentionally try to keep them healthy.

ABC7: Why did you put dog carcasses on the roof?

Brunette: That was last year. I had... two dogs died and I got hit by a truck... broke four of my ribs, I had a punctured liver and intestine. So I put them up there... I was going to carry them. And umm... sometimes that was all I could do so the extra two days of digging the grave for the dogs. I wasn't able to do that.

ABC7: Do you burry dogs on your property?

Brunette: Yes I do. When they die, I give them a proper burial. Dig the grave about three feet deep. Umm... put the dog in there in a blanket, or a bag, or a box, or something. Put like memorial stones on it and hold a memorial service.

ABC7: How many dogs would you say are buried on your property?

Brunette: Umm... I probably have about 10 or so. I have some that are not buried... didn't get to it. I had a guy helping me last year but he lost his job and couldn't afford to live around here so he had to move.

ABC7: How many dogs did you have before you got arrested or how many dogs do you own now? Brunette: Umm... I'm not sure. I never counted them... trying to keep the bloodlines going. When you don't have enough dogs...

ABC7: So you don't know the number of dogs that you currently have?

Brunette: I do know how many. I'm not sure if I can exactly say right now I need to be advised how much information I can give out.

ABC7: On those dogs that you were saving their skulls, what were the names of those dogs?

Brunette: One was Running.

ABC7: R-U-N-N-I-N-G? Ok.

Brunette: He would run around his mommy's stomach when he was a baby. That's how he got his name, running.

ABC7: Is it true that you were living among... was there dog feces in your cabin?

Brunette: I had some four month old puppies that I... so they wouldn't be chewed up by the other dogs. In the morning they would go to the bathroom I would throw it outside or I would throw it in the fire. You know, to make it easy.

ABC7: So it wasn't something that was happening all the time. You hear about these stories, Robert, where they find people that are overwhelmed with animals. They mean well and all of a sudden there's a hundred of them and they can't clean up after them. Was that not the case with you?

Brunette: No, that wasn't the case. I didn't allow any of them to go pee or go to the bathroom in my house. Uhh... I kept it clean, you don't want your house to smell like dog urine so you know I would tell the dogs just like anyone else, it's their house and not to go to the bathroom there. Some places out in the yard, there are some areas that I kept clean, some areas where I let them go to the bathroom down in the woods and stuff.

ABC7: So in your mind, you've done nothing wrong?

Brunette: Nope, nope... I've done nothing wrong. Ummm, our constitution provides for peace happiness. I like to have my dogs, go for walks with them and you know... living my life out there.

ABC7: Why would they say you are accused of abusing dogs then?

Brunette: Well that's one way to take away your dogs from a person. Say we're going to come in and take your dogs away from you.

ABC7: Once again what kind of dogs do you have are they common names?

Brunette: I have a bunch of different names. My mom always gives me funny name for my dogs. Oh the breed, my breed has seven different breeds. They're Rottweiler, Cane Corporal, Black German Shepherd, Yorkie Shepherd, and I got St. Bernard in there and little red [inaudible].

ABC7: And how long have you been breeding those seven different kinds of dogs? My reporter, Karina, says people said you were trying to create a vicious and or macho dog. It sounds like you are. Brunette: Well, those are all watch dog breeds. Uhh the Rottwiler is actually... German Shepherd came from wolves.

ABC7: Did you ever breed wolves?

Brunette: Well I have a certain percentage of wolf in there but not very much.

ABC7: Where did you get the wolf?

Brunette: Uhh that came from a bloodline long back from a neighbor of mine out there that lived there 15-20 years ago.

ABC7: How do you get a bloodline?

Brunette: Some of them I bought when they were a pedigree.

ABC7: You mean you bought the actual dog?

Brunette: Yeah like the Rottweiler...

ABC7: But you don't buy the actual blood or semen or anything like that?

Brunette: Well, not the blood. You can buy the actual semen if you want to do it that way. Umm but I buy the dog. I buy the female or I have a male and I take pedigree dogs and mix them together and say I like that breed, I'd like to put that to my bloodline.

ABC7: Still sounds you know... How many people in the United States would you describe are doing what you are doing?

Brunette: I'd say there's quite a few.

ABC7: Is there like a website that you're part of? Is there some sort of group? Do you keep in touch with these fellow breeders?

Brunette: Well I keep in touch with some Cane Corporal breeders in the organization to learn more about them and learn who they are. I'm doing my own thing. I know there's other people that create breeds to what they like.

ABC7: So you don't... you would take offence if people said this guy sounds like he's paranoid or nuts.

Brunette: Yeah, yeah I take offence. I'm a very private person. Partly paranoid... some people are very public. And socialize a lot. I don't socialize that much. I don't know, I'm probably not a social person.

ABC7: Have you ever been a victim of crime?

Brunette: No, well... the dogs... I've seen dogs shot, dogs poisoned...

ABC7: But you personally, have you ever been threaten or beat up by anybody?

Brunette: I've been beat up by the Road Association...

ABC7: The Road Association?

Brunette: Yeah we have a Road Association. One guy out there John Miller who's the same age as me...

ABC7: What was that one thing that bugged you?

Brunette: He'd like to come over like early in the morning. I like to sleep as long as I can, take my dogs for an hour walk, eat my breakfast so I'm usually available to socialize in the afternoon. And I'd tell him that and a lot of times he's show up at nine or ten in the morning.

ABC7: What about the neighbor that called animal control that said they heard animals in pain coming from your lot? What were they hearing?

Brunette: Well probably the dogs hollering. When the mood would come out they would start hollering out there. Different ones have different tones. Almost like they're singing a song out there.

ABC7: At night?

Brunette: Yeah.

ABC7: Where do you get your money? How do you support yourself?

Brunette: I used to work as a technician.

ABC7: Are you living off a savings account?

Brunette: No I am, I injured my back years ago. And then I broke my pelvis. Like I said I got hit by some truck, and broke a bunch of ribs. I think I still have one that hasn't healed right.

ABC7: Were you in the service?

Brunette: No I wasn't.

ABC7: How long have you lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains?

Brunette: Almost 25 years.

ABC7: And where did you live before that? Do you have any children?

Brunette: No. And I'm not married.

ABC7: Have you ever been married? Do you abuse drugs or alcohol?

Brunette: No. My limit is one beer.

ABC7: Have you ever been in jail or prison before?

Brunette: This is the first time I've been in jail.

ABC7: Alright sir is there anything else you want to add?

Brunette: Well I was up there living my life and doing my own stuff, then I had the Road Association mess with my road.

ABC7: Do you have any local family that we can contact to get what they think?

Brunette: I don't have any local family.

Read the whole story: Accused dog breeder calls in to ABC7


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