Acton animal abusers sentenced; 5 years prison for one, 6 months jail for the other

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Two Acton dog trainers accused of abusing more than two dozen dogs in their care were  sentenced recently, one netting five years in prison, the other six months in jail.

Junior Barillas Morales, 28, and 24-year-old Natasha Elena Ahmad appeared May 30 in Antelope Valley Superior Court where they pleaded no contest for abusing 26 dogs under their care, Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, said.

Morales and Ahmad each entered a plea to one felony count of animal cruelty.

Additionally, Morales pleaded to two additional felony counts of animal cruelty, one felony count of child abuse and one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty.

Deputy District Attorney Amarilla Blondia said defendant Morales was immediately sentenced to five years in state prison.

Ahmad was sentenced to six months in jail, five years of formal probation, 45 days community labor, animal neglect classes and additional conditions imposed by the court including a prohibition on owning or possessing any animals for 10 years.

The defendants also agreed to make a $10,000 payment toward an undetermined amount of restitution.

The defendants operated a dog training business called Real Deal K-9’s, according to testimony at the preliminary hearing.

Customers of the business allege they paid thousands of dollars and received very sick, thin dogs.

On Feb. 7, 2017, three very thin dogs were discovered by neighbors, according to evidence presented at the preliminary hearing.

A subsequent investigation uncovered two deceased dogs and eight additional dogs in the defendant’s property.

One of the live dogs had to have a leg amputated due to an untreated infection, the prosecutor said.

On May 2, 2017, investigators searching the defendant’s home allegedly found a loaded gun in a sofa where the couple’s three children, ages 1, 4, and 7, could find it, the prosecutor added. The home was extremely dirty and a total of 24 dogs were seized during that search, according to court testimony.

The case was investigated by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation and the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control.

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