San Diego

The owner of the now-defunct Kelly’s Pet Hotel pleaded no contest to five animal-neglect and kennel violations in a surprise plea bargain Monday.

Ruby Mae Brown, 61, who has repeatedly asserted her innocence of abusing or neglecting animals at the kennel, was immediately sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered not to take in animals for a fee.

She could have received 2 1/2 years in jail and a $2,500 fine.


Brown was not present for the plea, as a defendant need not appear in court for a misdemeanor case. Her attorney, Hodge Crabtree, entered her pleas for her.

She was given no jail sentence or fine because she has declared bankruptcy. Brown was also ordered to not advertise her business as a kennel and told not to possess more than six four-footed animals.

San Diego Municipal Judge Robert Coates dismissed about 200 related animal-abuse charges relating to her operation of her kennel, which was West Morena Boulevard.

Deputy City Atty. Fred Ortlieb said he was satisfied with the plea bargain.

“We can oversee what she is doing (under probation). She can’t operate a kennel now,” Ortlieb said.

The prosecutor said he doesn’t think Brown needs a jail sentence but probably should have counseling.

Crabtree could not be reached for comment. Earlier this year, Brown told television reporters she would kill any animal-control officers who tried to take away her kennel license.

Brown was jailed repeatedly after she talked about having an assault rifle but was freed when it was turned over to a judge.

Next month, Brown is scheduled to be sentenced by another Municipal Court judge in a separate case on other animal-abuse violations, but the agreement reached Monday precludes her getting any harsher sentence. She was convicted last week.

In 1984, she was convicted of 20 animal-abuse violations. She is still appealing that conviction.