Abandoned Puppies Struggle as Frazier Man Charged with Felony Cruelty

  • This is one of the approximately 12 puppies Mario Cedillo is alleged to have abandoned on icy mountain roads Monday, Nov. 30. Cedillo has pleaded 'not guilty' in Ventura County to a charge of felony animal cruelty.

    This is one of the approximately 12 puppies Mario Cedillo is alleged to have abandoned on icy mountain roads Monday, Nov. 30. Cedillo has pleaded 'not guilty' in Ventura County to a charge of felony animal cruelty.

Compiled from official reports by Patric Hedlund

UPDATE–FRAZIER PARK (Wednesday, Dec. 2, 4:30 p.m.)— Mario Cedillo, 27 of Frazier Park pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to felony animal cruelty charges involving abandoning puppies by the roadway in two counties.

It is reported that one puppy died on the way to Ventura County’s Animal Control Headquarters and another had to be euthanized. Five of the pit bull terriers are being treated for severe dehydration and a virus, animal control officers said.

Because the puppies are now considered evidence in a criminal trial, those that recover will not be available for adoption until after the prosecution is complete.

Cedillo’s next court date is December 11.

LOCKWOOD VALLEY (Tuesday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m.)—Mario Cedillo, 27 from the 3200 block of Decator Trail in Frazier Park was charged with Felony Animal Cruelty on Monday, Nov. 30 at 1:55 p.m.

A Lockwood Valley resident had reported seeing a man in the process of abandoning approximately 12 puppies on the side of the road, in the area of Lockwood Valley Road, west of Mill Canyon, according to a report by Senior Deputy Ryan Clark of the Lockwood Valley Ventura County Sheriff’s substation. The man was within the boundaries of the Los Padres National Forest. The resident stopped and confronted the man, telling him he could not abandon the puppies there. The suspect quickly retrieved the puppies and put them into the bed of his truck, then drove away. The resident recorded the man’s license plate number and description, and searched the area. He located one of the puppies that had been left behind, and took custody of it.

A Lockwood Valley deputy relayed the suspect information to surrounding law enforcement agencies. A suspect broadcast was made in the area of Frazier Park, where a Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy located the suspect vehicle traveling eastbound on Frazier Mountain Park Road, in the area of Monterey Trail. The suspect (Cedillo) was detained by deputies pending further investigation. At the time of his detention, the suspect had no puppies in his vehicle.

The witness was transported to the suspect, where he positively identified Cedillo. Cedillo was uncooperative with the investigation. Based on the investigation, it was suspected that Cedillo was in the process of abandoning his puppies in the forest, where they were certain to die without care, when he was confronted by the resident. It was further suspected that Cedillo simply drove to another location, where he abandoned the puppies in a similar fashion. Cedillo refused to reveal the location where the puppies had been taken.

Cedillo was placed under arrest for felony animal cruelty and was transported to the Ventura County Jail, where he was further questioned. Based on his interview, the suspicions of abandonment were confirmed. Cedillo was booked into the Ventura County Jail for violation of 597(a) PC (Animal Cruelty), and 12500(a) VC (Unlicensed Driver). His bail was set at $15,000

Deputies and residents of Cuddy Valley mounted a search effort for several hours, which failed to reveal the location of the puppies.

On Tuesday, Dec. 1, deputies were notified that another Cuddy Valley resident, unaware of the initial search, had located 7 abandoned puppies at the end of Cherry Creek 4×4 Camp road, situated on the Tecuya Ridge of the Los Padres National Forest, on the previous evening. The resident reported going to this rarely visited area for snow play when he encountered abandoned puppies in the roadway. The resident took custody of the puppies for the evening and turned them over on December 1. Lockwood Valley deputies were notified of the find and took custody of the puppies as evidence. Based on the investigation, it was suspected these were the same puppies seen with Cedillo the previous day.

The puppies’ care was transferred to Ventura County Animal Regulation officers for immediate medical treatment. Their medical condition was found to be poor to serious.

Anybody with information relating to these puppies, or to Mario Cedillo, are encouraged to call the Lockwood Valley Sheriff’s Station at (661) 245-3829. This investigation is continuing.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department encourages anybody who is experiencing difficulty in handling or caring for animals to contact your local Animal Regulation or Humane Society for assistance or advice.

This is part of the December 04, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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