Brunette may be released from jail

August 4, 2008 7:12:06 PM PDT
A Santa Cruz County dog breeder, arrested for animal abuse, turned down a chance at freedom Monday. Robert Brunette pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of animal abuse and neglect. Now, he's refusing to cooperate with authorities.

A handcuffed 45-year-old Robert Brunette told Judge Jeffrey Alquist he did not want animal control to have access to his property.

"Then you can stay in custody," said Judge Alquist.

Judge Alquist told Brunette that if he was released without bail, there would be conditions. He would have make daily calls and make his location known. He would also have to help Santa Cruz County Animal Control find and capture the remaining 10 other malnourished and diseased dogs still roaming his three-acre property. He could not have contact with the dogs taken from him and placed in the animal shelter last week. Assistant District Attorney Heather Jones says Brunette should not be released.

"We believe he is a danger, at least to the animals, and to release him to his property where we believe there are still 10 additional animals in distress that we've been unable to humanely trap and bring to animal services agency," said Jones, the Santa Cruz County District Attorney.

Brunette's attorney disagrees.

"Certainly he's not a threat to anybody, not a flight risk, no real reason to leave him in jail," said mark Garver, Brunette's attorney.

Last week Santa Cruz Animal Control and the Sheriff's Department removed 40 dogs from Brunette's home in Boulder Creek. The dogs, many of them puppies, had been living in their own feces. Many were emaciated and living in small cages without food or water. All were malnourished and diseased. Dog skulls, carcasses and severed paws were also found on the property.

"The goal of our prosecution is to insure that he's held accountable for his behavior in this case and is not allowed to injure any other animals in the future," said Jones.

Brunette called ABC7 News last week to say his dogs have been well cared for.

"I don't abuse my dogs. I keep them fed and I play with them, take them for walks," said Brunette.

All of the rescued dogs are with animal control being fed and nursed back to health.

Santa Cruz County Sheriffs say Brunette has still not agreed with the conditions which would set him free under court supervision. His next court date is on October 3rd in Santa Cruz.

Read the whole transcript of ABC7's interview with Robert Brunette: click here


Load Comments