Suspected Santa Cruz dog abuser arrested

A $50,000 bench warrant was issued Thursday for /*Robert Brunette*/ after people reported seeing Brunette walking dogs on two separate occasions, animal services coordinator Tricia Geisreiter said.

His earlier release from jail stipulated that he could not be in possession of any animals during his trial, that he must cooperate with authorities searching for other animals on his property and that he must check in with the court every three days.

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.

He was freed from jail on Aug. 20 after finally agreeing to the conditions of his release, which he initially turned down.

He is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 10, Deputy District Attorney Heather Jones said.

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.

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