Dog abuse suspect appears in court

August 6, 2008 5:09:05 PM PDT
A man accused of significant animal abuse told a Santa Cruz County judge today that he did not agree with the terms of his release from jail, and will continue to be held on $100,000 bail, a deputy district attorney said.

Robert Brunette was scheduled to be released on his own recognizance Tuesday, but refused to accept the terms, Deputy District Attorney Health Jones said. He apparently told jailers that he did not want to be supervised on his release from incarceration, she added.

The conditions attached to his release would have prohibited him from keeping animals in his possession while the case is pending, and he would have had to agree to cooperate with authorities in the retrieval of 10 dogs that are believed to still be on his property, said Jones.

Brunette's lawyer Mark Garver spoke for his client today and asked Judge Jeff Almquist to reduce his client's bail since supervised release was out of the question for Brunette. Almquist denied the request and a bail hearing was set for Friday to continue the matter, Jones said.

Brunette pleaded not guilty Monday to 10 counts of animal cruelty and neglect in Santa Cruz County Superior Court. Two of the counts are felonies and the other eight are misdemeanors -- four counts of animal neglect and four counts of improper confinement.

Almquist had originally agreed to release Brunette on his own recognizance after Garver argued that Brunette has no significant criminal record.

Jones argued that although Brunette does not have a lengthy history of serious crime, the charges he faces and the fact that he fled the day he was served with a search warrant should be just cause for keeping him in jail.

Brunette is accused of abusing and neglecting more than 40 dogs on his Boulder Creek property.

On July 26, animal control authorities armed with a search warrant rescued 38 emaciated and abused dogs from Brunette's property. During the search they also found a decapitated dog head, five dog skulls and a dead dog on the roof of the home.

Brunette fled from his home that day, but was arrested July 31 near Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 6.


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