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Officials Seize Sick Animals, Cite Owner

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Times Staff Writer

A Tarzana man who allegedly kept a collection of improperly cared-for animals, including a horse, at his home will be cited for animal cruelty, Los Angeles authorities said Friday.

Department of Animal Regulation officers seized 13 animals from the home of Ronald Panda, 32, of the 19000 block of Topham Street on Thursday, said Tom Walsh, West Valley district supervisor for the department.

Walsh said the animals, including several cats and dogs and two horses, were in various conditions of poor health. One kitten had to be destroyed because it was gravely ill and one of the horses was more than 100 pounds underweight and suffering from severe eye infections, he said.

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“The horse is practically blind,” Walsh said. “The animals did not show any signs that they were being treated” for their health problems.

The horse with the eye infections, estimated to be 17 to 20 years old, was treated by two veterinarians and was showing enough signs of improvement Friday for Walsh to be optimistic about its chances of survival.

“It is showing improvement” after one day of treatment, Walsh said. “But the problem should not have been allowed to go to that point before treatment.”

Walsh said the second horse and other animals were in better condition but appeared to be malnourished. Some were not licensed.

The animal regulation department was in the process of filing cruelty charges against Panda, Walsh said. The misdemeanor charge would carry a maximum penalty of six months in county jail or $1,000 fine.

Walsh denied the animals were abused.

“I am an animal lover,” Panda said. “I’ve had veterinarians out to my house just for these animals. The horse is 30 years old and has cataracts. Its weight is down because of the heat this summer.

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“The dogs are very old. One has cancer. I take care of them.”

Walsh said animal regulation officers went to Panda’s home Thursday after receiving a complaint from an unidentified neighbor. He said there were several other animals at the house that appeared to be well cared-for and in good health. Those were not confiscated.

Walsh said Panda was detained by animal regulation officers in March when he interfered with their efforts to rescue a dog trapped in a storm drain near his home. No charges were filed in that incident.

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