Alleged dog abuser released from jail

August 20, 2008 5:33:03 PM PDT
A man accused of neglecting and abusing dogs on his property in the Santa Cruz Mountains has been released from jail today after agreeing to the terms of his release, the Santa Cruz County Jail said today.

Robert Brunette had previously refused to agree to conditions that would have prohibited him from keeping animals in his possession while the case is pending, as well as having to agree to cooperate with authorities in the retrieval of numerous dogs that were believed to still be on his property.

He would also have had to check in with the court every three days to ensure that he hasn't left the area.

Jail personnel could not comment on whether he agreed to the previous conditions, or if new conditions were presented to him.

Brunette was held to answer at his preliminary hearing in Santa Cruz County Superior Court Monday, Deputy District Attorney Heather Jones said.

Brunette pleaded not guilty on Aug. 4 to 10 counts of animal cruelty and neglect. Two of the counts are felonies and the other eight are misdemeanors -- four counts of animal neglect and four counts of improper confinement.

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 the property. During the search they also found a decapitated dog head, five dog skulls and a dead dog on the roof of the home.

Santa Cruz County Planning Director Tom Burns said county code enforcement officers have since inspected the buildings and property owned by Brunette, and have posted a notice of violation.

The property and surrounding buildings violated codes for construction without permits, neglected property, animal keeping in excess of four dogs and operation of a commercial kennel, he said.

Brunette was arrested July 31 near Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos after fleeing his home when animal control authorities entered it. A superior court arraignment for Brunette is scheduled for Sept. 10.


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