ABC7's second interview with Brunette

August 5, 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 Tuesday, August 5, 2008. This interview was recorded with Brunette's permission.

ABC7: So what's the latest? Why aren't you agreeing to a deal to get out of jail now to go help Animal Control go up to your property?

Brunette: Well, they want to release me uh, like uh, a convict under supervised parole... which I believe, I believe I'm innocent and haven't committed any crimes and I didn't like the deal they gave me, you know. You see, they want to put me on parole and have me check in everyday with a parole officer, jump down to Santa Cruz if they want me come down for an interview... um you know, anything like a regular parolee from prison or something.

ABC7: Robert, isn't that more desirable than being in the county jail?

Brunette: Well, ah I think that's violating my constitutional rights. So that's why I didn't agree to the deal.

ABC7: Alright, where do you stand now? When do you anticipate getting out of jail? Do you have a lawyer? What is the public defender telling you? When do you think you're going to get out of jail?

Brunette: Well, I don't think I was given a good public defender because I asked him if he knew any dog laws at all. He says he's never read up or tried any, you know, dog abuse or animal cases whatsoever. So he's just totally green in that area.

ABC7: What are your alternatives?

Brunette: Well, I'd like to maybe try to get a different public defender that ah, knows some animal law. The other option is representing myself, which is really kind of hard here because you don't get any access to the law library, have no access to legal forms. I think maybe tomorrow I'll get a phone card where I can actually, you know, call down some legal aid services, you know, and maybe get some help. Right now I'm on the collect call phone system because that's all I have, you know.

ABC7: Alright, but I mean why, what is it that you don't want Animal Control to see on your property? Where are the ten dogs that everyone keeps talking about?

Brunette: Well, there is nothing I don't want them to see. I mean, they've already been up to my property twice and issued search warrants so supposedly they've already seen everything they wanted to see.

ABC7: Well then, what's there to hide on your part?

Brunette: No, I mean, the only thing I'm against is waiving my constitutional rights.

ABC7: And please be more specific: was that because you felt you were being treated like a parolee and that you would have to keep in touch with them and be at their beckon call?

Brunette: Yeah, I thought I had to act like a guilty person and be under parole just like, you know, some rapist or some burglar, which, you know, I'm not even that. I'm that person up there with my dogs and I haven't committed any crimes.

ABC7: If you go back up there, you understand that most of your dogs are gone.

Brunette: Well, I don't know that because they haven't given me any letters of seizures of any more animals. Um... and that's another thing. They put a notice of seizure of animals on my door which I'm supposed to return today for a hearing? But I have no way of getting to my house to get that form to deliver it to Animal Control in Scotts Valley.

ABC7: But what... I asked you this on Friday and you didn't answer. How many animals, how many dogs are at your property now?

Brunette: Well, that's what, I'm unsure about that because last time I was there was Thursday morning. So I don't know if they came back or not... um, I mean, they could've come back and tried to catch some more and maybe they haven't given me the seizure notice like they're properly supposed to do.

ABC7: Well just from what we understand from yesterday's court hearing, didn't they want you released so they can help, you can help capture the remaining 10 dogs that are loose on your property. Do you say, is that true? Are there 10 dogs loose on your property and if you love your dogs so much why won't you go and help them get captured so they can be fed and watered?

Brunette: Well, that's why because I do love my dogs and I wouldn't do that to them. I mean, after being here for awhile it would be like I'd be selling my dogs out. Going up there to catch them, to give them to Animal Control, to abuse them more than they have been already.

ABC7: Are you putting your dogs' freedom ahead of yours?

Brunette: Um, yeah, yeah, sort of.

ABC7: Why's that? That sounds crazy.

Brunette: Well I spent, you know, 20 years developing those dogs and that's pretty much my life right now. I mean, if they take all my dogs away, well I've just wasted half my life taking care of those dogs. I mean, I mean one thing, if Animal Control takes all my dogs away from me then they might as well dismiss the case because what am I fighting for, you know?

ABC7: Well, you're fighting for your freedom because they're accusing you of abusing the dogs prior to them taking them.

Brunette: Which is allegations that are untrue so, you know. I'm not worried about that at all.

ABC7: Do you think that you'll ever get these 40 dogs and puppies back?

Brunette: Well, there probably isn't that many. I mean I didn't plan on saving all those puppies anyway. I planned on saving uh, you know, one from each litter that were, I consider, you know, the best ones or the genetic bloodlines that I wanted to save. You know, the other puppies, you know, they just happened to be in the litter and, you know, and I nurse them up to, you know, old enough where other people could have a guard or watchdog for their backyard to protect their house.

ABC7: Do you sell those puppies or do you give them away?

Brunette: I pretty much give them away. I mean, I take a donation, but uh, that money goes back to buying dog food for the other dogs.

ABC7: How much money do you say you spend a week or a month on, up until now, on your pets, your animals?

Brunette: Oh, well quite a bit. I probably put out, uh probably $20 a day in dog food. In just food alone, you know, besides vet bills and my time taking care of them, you know, vaccines for them. Medications, you know. So basically you can multiply $20 a day times 365 days a year and that's about how much I spend a year on dog food. Then you know, you got vet bills for if something happens to the dog, which, you know, can get pricey sometimes depending on how serious, you know, the vet needs are.

ABC7: Hey, why did you... do you consider yourself that you were on the run between when they came and served the warrant and the time that you surrendered? Why didn't you just stay there and face the music?

Brunette: Well, ah the Santa Cruz Sheriffs kind of threatened, kind of threatened to ah beat on me on Friday when they first came up there. They were, they're like hanging over the fence, they had their latex gloves on, you know, their hands balled in fists and they say, "Yea, why don't you come over here so we can ah talk to you and, you know, kind of get a hold of you." And they said, "Well, why don't you come talk to us? We're going to jump over that fence and we're going to grab ya and stuff." And I said, "Well, you know, for everyone's safety and welfare, you know, don't come over the fence." I said, "You know, you're not coming into my pen," because that wouldn't be a foolish thing to do with all the dogs in there and asked them well why would they do that, you know? They were like, "We're going to arrest you, we're going to tackle you down and we're going to, you know, it's going to be hard for you."

ABC7: OK. Hey you mentioned earlier that you felt that the Animal Control people abuse your dogs. Why would you say something like that? They've got a reputation for not abusing animals.

Brunette: Actually, they don't have a reputation for that. The guy that ran the raid on my place was um a guy that was under Michael McFarland three years ago. The Michael McFarland that actually resigned because he didn't want to do what the Animal Control manager wanted him to do. You contact him, he'd probably take good care of my dogs. The kennels were clean, you know, the dogs all looked healthy and he didn't want to cause problems for me so he ended up resigning from Animal Control because he didn't want to do what the manager made him to do. Now Todd Stosuy, or however you say his last name, he's been harassing me up there for three years, putting me under surveillance. I mean, he could have been one of the persons messing with some of the dogs to try to get me to turn myself in, you know. Maybe he wanted me to call them up and say, "Oh I got some poisoned dogs, can you do something about it?" "Oh, we'll come up and check it," which, you know, would give them a right to come up to my place. So, he was in the first raid three years ago and I think he had an ax to grind and he came up to my place and said, "Well, we're not leaving, we're going to come here and do this you know." And um, what was it? After the raid on Saturday I came back Sunday to make sure my dogs were alright and a couple of my males were limping. It looks like, you know, they pulled their back leg or something, got their hip joint out of the socket. I had a bunch of dogs their eyes were all inflamed and they had the smell of pepper spray on their heads and their spraying into their eyes pepper spray their trying to blind them so they can catch them. And then there was also some like, swelling down the sides of their ribs where they'd been kicked. So I don't think that's a, you know, a humane way that Animal Control was taking care of my dogs. It sounds like abuse to me.

ABC7: Alright, and did you say, you're back in court tomorrow morning. Is that correct?

Brunette: Yeah, I'm going back to court to tell the judge that I'm not agreeing to the supervised probation and uh waiving my constitutional rights. 'Cause when I was in court they said oh, I was going to be released on recovery as long as I let Animal Control come onto your property anytime they want, you know. I said, OK well that's what you want. I'll see if, you know, I'll have to read the contract to see if I agree to it. Then that night they brought up a contract for supervised, you know, release for probation. And I said, well the judge never mentioned anything about supervised probation as part of the conditions.

ABC7: Alright, are you really going to make an effort to get a different attorney?

Brunette: Well, I think I should. I heard from some of the other inmates in here that it's hard to fire that one guy once he gets on your case.

ABC7: Alright, Robert anything else you want to add today?

Brunette: Uh... I guess that's about all that's new. That hearing I had yesterday and, you know, and them to try to get me to waive my rights.

ABC7: Ok, ok well thank you very much for calling and you and I will keep in touch. Thank you for your call Robert.

Brunette: I guess I should mention I do have a neighbor up there that is buying dog food and putting out food and water for my dogs up there that are still up.

ABC7: Ok. So you think they're ok? Has the neighbor told you anything?

Brunette: No, I haven't been able to contact him because the only number I have for him is his cell phone, which the collect phone system in here will not let you call cell phones.

ABC7: You know, I asked you on Friday if you had ever been in trouble with the law or if you had been arrested before and you said no. But the paper says you were arrested for disturbing the peace. Is that true?

Brunette: Yeah, there was a disturbing the peace charge but it was, that was like six years ago. I had a traffic stop in my car and I was taking a, like a, four-day puppy to the vet to get its tail re-clipped for my pedigree dog. The vet cut it a little long and I wanted him to fix the job he did with the puppies. And so I got stopped at a traffic stop and they took my puppy away from me on a 100 degree day out in July and they set the puppy on a hood of a running Cruiser. You know, black hood in the hot sun with the car running. I said, "You're going to kill the dog, you know." So I grabbed a box that had the puppy in it on a towel and put in back in my arms and said you got to keep it cool - you're going to dehydrate and kill the puppy. And then officers thought I was causing a problem and so a couple other officers had stopped behind the traffic stop and they came in the back of me and started punching me in the head, and hitting me with batons and took me down to the ground. And the original charge was uh resisting arrest, is what they put on my report. And the D.A. ended up, uh he told me that if I pleaded to disturbing the peace and pay $100 fine that that would conclude the matter. But then again they did the same thing that the judge did yesterday. After they filled out the paperwork for the fine and all that they said, "Oh, and you're on a year probation too." And I said, "Well, I didn't agree to all that." But I don't break any laws, so at that time, I really didn't worry about that.

ABC7: Hey, what kind of work were you doing before you got arrested? Do you have an actual job?

Brunette: Yeah, I'm an electrical mechanical technician. I work on like packaging machinery and tooling machines.

ABC7: I'm sorry, packaging machinery?

Brunette: Yeah, packaging machinery and like tooling machines.

ABC7: Right, are you like a repairman?

Brunette: Yeah, yeah I'd be like a technician that would repair machinery. Mostly automation and computer controlled machines.

ABC7: Right but there is like no job you go to everyday from nine to five?

Brunette: No not currently. The job market has been, you know, pretty poor. Mostly this last year I was trying to get my dogs set up so that I could go back to work.

ABC7: Ok. Well, Robert we'll talk again, ok?

Brunette: Ok, well thanks for talking with me again.

Read ABC7's first interview with Robert Brunette from Friday, August 1, 2008: click here


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