Two Acton dog trainers who operated a business called “Real Deal K-9’s” have pleaded no contest to a charge of abusing several dogs under their care, authorities said.
Junior Barillas Morales, 28, and Natasha Elena Ahmad, 25, both entered the plea Thursday to one felony count of animal cruelty, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. Morales also pleaded to two additional felony counts of animal cruelty, one felony count of child abuse and one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty.
Customers of the dog training business alleged that they paid thousands of dollars and received sick, emaciated dogs, according to testimony at the preliminary hearing. On Feb. 7, 2017, three emaciated dogs were discovered by neighbors.
A subsequent investigation found two dead dogs and eight additional dogs on the defendants’ property, according to prosecutors. One of the dogs had to have a leg amputated because of an untreated infection.
On May 2, 2017, investigators searching the defendants’ home say they 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 24 dogs were seized during that search, according to court records.
Morales was sentenced to five years in state prison, according to prosecutors. Ahmad was sentenced to six months in jail, five years of formal probation, 45 days of community labor, must take animal neglect classes and abide by additional conditions imposed by the court including a prohibition on owning or possessing any animals for 10 years.
Morales and Ahmad also agreed to make a $10,000 payment toward an undetermined amount of restitution.