Maywood mayor who kept sick dog at his auto repair shop is guilty of animal cruelty

Maywood Mayor Ramon Medina is asked questions by the media after investigators from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office removed computers and files from his auto shop on Feb. 8.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Maywood Mayor Ramon Medina was found guilty of neglecting his sick dog that he kept at his auto repair shop in 2015, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Medina was found guilty of one misdemeanor count each of cruelty to an animal and failure to care for an animal.

Prosecutors said in a statement Tuesday that Medina had a pit bull mix named Hershey who had a chronic disease. They said the dog had suffered for a long period of time and hadn’t been seen by a veterinarian.


In February 2015, Hershey was taken to an animal shelter in Downey. Prosecutors said the female dog “was emaciated, had severe muscle wasting, couldn’t walk or eat and had to be euthanized.”

The case is the latest legal problem for the mayor, who was served with search warrants at his home and business by investigators with the district attorney’s office in February. Investigators also served search warrants at City Hall and the properties of Vice Mayor Ricardo Villarreal.

An official described the search warrants at the time as an investigation into accusations of corruption. A copy of a search warrant obtained by the Los Angeles Times shows that the possible corruption inquiry includes former council members, 13 companies, five current and former administrators, and one activist who dresses up as a clown.

Investigators removed computers and boxes filled with city documents from the mayor’s business, R&M Auto Service, which is now tied to the animal cruelty case.

While removing items from the auto shop, authorities also removed 40 roosters from the property.

The small city in southeast Los Angeles County has long struggled with financial issues and political controversy.


In October 2016, a scathing state audit said Maywood’s “weak governance” made it unable to wrestle with more than $15 million in debt — twice the small city’s operating costs.

The 51-page report listed a series of problems that stood between the 1.2-square-mile community and financial health, including political infighting, wasteful spending, questionable hiring decisions, repeated violations of the state’s open meeting laws and poor administrative controls.

Auditors say the City Council did not adequately monitor the performance of a former city manager during her five-year tenure, which “allowed many significant financial and operation problems to remain uncorrected.”

Maywood Councilman Eduardo De La Riva said the mayor’s animal cruelty case is another embarrassing example of a city suffering from failed leadership.

“Maywood has been through a lot these past two years and sadly, it’s mostly been negative and the mayor has mostly been at the center of it all,” De La Riva said. “Mr. Medina needs to do the right thing and resign from his seat on the City Council.

“Enough is enough,” he said. “Our residents deserve better.”

Sentencing in the animal cruelty case is scheduled for Sept. 7. Medina faces a possible maximum sentence of one year in jail.


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