Charges Reduced in Dana Point Animal-Cruelty Case

News   ·   December 10, 2005

Orange County Register
Saturday, December 10, 2005

New trial date of Feb. 7 set for two men accused of running a puppy mill; felony counts against them now misdemeanors.

NEWPORT BEACH – A judge Friday reduced felony animal- cruelty charges to misdemeanors against two men accused of running a puppy mill that sold sick Pomeranians and resulted in the deaths of three dogs.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Susanne Shaw set a Feb. 7 trial date for Mark Bock, 37, and Jeffrey Worley, 38, a court clerk said. Shaw also dismissed four charges, the clerk said. Neither Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos nor defense attorney Jeffrey Benice could be reached for comment.

Bock and Worley initially were charged with 50 counts alleging they ran the operation without a permit out of their Dana Point home. They were set to go to trial last month when prosecutors added and upgraded charges for a total of 60 felony and misdemeanor charges. Benice had called the charges “ridiculous and outrageous.”

“My clients bred Pomeranian puppies in a superb fashion. They maintained a clean, loving facility, and these charges are preposterous,” he said. The defendants now live out of state and are free on bail. The men earlier denied selling seriously ill animals or that the dogs were mistreated.

Prosecutors say the men operated an illegal kennel in their home, which was the base of operations for “Pearlie’s House of Pomeranians.” At least three people complained that puppies they purchased had serious medical problems, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors also said 39 puppies were found in a secret room in the attic in January and that two dead puppies were in a freezer.

The live puppies, which were ill with respiratory and parasitic problems, were taken to the Coastal Animal Services Authority, which provided more than $16,000 in services to heal and care for them, prosecutors said. Another dog died during emergency treatment, Chrisopoulos said.

Kennel operators are bound by specific rules on housing dogs, particularly allowing sick dogs to be near healthy ones. Bock said earlier that the two puppies were in the freezer because they were dead when they arrived at the home.

The men waived all rights to the dogs and the healthy ones were put up for adoption.



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