A husband and wife who both work as sworn members of the Los Angeles Police Department pleaded not guilty to felony animal cruelty charges Monday stemming from allegations they failed to care for their elderly Labrador retriever.
Jason David Azpeitia, 43, a sergeant, and Sharon Anne Azpeitia, 42, a detective, pleaded not guilty to a felony count of animal cruelty and two misdemeanor counts each of failure to license, according to Los Angeles County Superior court records.
The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control launched an investigation in January after the couple’s neighbor found their dog on the street in the rain. The animal showed signs of severe neglect, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. Terrie Tengelsen.
An LAPD official could not immediately confirm how long either of the Azpeitias had worked at the agency or their current assignments. However, state records show both have worked at the department since 1999.
The Azpeitias are assigned to their home until the criminal investigation is completed. This means they are not coming into work or performing any official duties, but are still being paid, LAPD Officer Greg Kraft said.
Both face a maximum of three years in county jail, if convicted, according to prosecutors.