LAGUNA HILLS – A mother and son are facing misdemeanor charges after authorities say they abused 30 dogs before leaving the canines abandoned in a Laguna Hills park.
Flordeliza Aguillo Escano, 59, of Rancho Santa Margarita has been charged with animal abandonment, mistreatment and neglect, while James Francis Alambra, 26, has been charged with animal abandonment and mistreatment, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Authorities allege that Escano and Alambra drove a truck into a parking lot at San Remo Park on May 20 and unloaded two crates, one that contained 14 dogs, the other than contained 16 dogs. Prosecutors say the dogs were stacked atop one another in the crates, without food or water.
After leaving the crates next to trees near the roadway, prosecutors said the mother and son attempted to leave in the truck, but the vehicle wouldn’t start.
A woman picked the two up in another vehicle, but investigators do not believe that she knew about the abandoned canines. Escano and Alambra left their truck at the park, authorities said.
Park visitors called the Orange County Sheriff’s Department after finding the crates. Authorities say the dogs showed signs of neglect, including matted fur and ingrown toenails. Animal Control officials indicated that the dogs ranged in age from 6 months to 6 years old.
Alambra reportedly told investigators that his mother appeared to be hoarding the dogs and that he was taking them from her residence to an animal shelter, but claimed he was forced to abandon them when his car broke down.
If convicted, Escano faces up to 18 months in jail, while Alambra faces up to a year in jail, according to the DA’s office.
Staff writer Erika J. Ritchie contributed to this report.
By SEAN EMERY / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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