LANCASTER – A couple accused of running a sophisticated dog fighting operation from their Lake Los Angeles home pleaded no contest, the Los Angeles District Attorney Office announced Wednesday.
Jesse Eduardo Jiminez, 44, pleaded to 13 counts of dog fighting; nine counts of willful animal cruelty; six count of animal neglect; two counts of practicing veterinary medicine without a license; and one count of possession of a controlled substance, cocaine, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Jiminez’ wife, Yvette Jiminez, who has been in county jail since March 2, pleaded to one count of willful animal cruelty and two counts of felony dog fighting, prosecutors said.
Deputies executed a search warrant at the home and discovered 10 adult pit bulls chained in the backyard all bearing scars or fresh injuries. Three pit bull puppies also were found chained or fenced in the backyard. One adult female pit bull – believed to have borne several litters – was discovered inside the home.
Investigators also found handwritten records dating back to the mid 1990s featuring training regimens and blow-by-blow narratives of select dog fights. Also found on the premise were three treadmills and a portable dog fighting pit that was stained with what appeared to be blood. Additionally, investigators found literature on how to train fighting dogs, how to treat animal injuries and boxes of medical supplies.
Jesse Eduardo Jiminez is out of custody on a $560,000 bond and is scheduled to surrender on Jan. 27 to begin serving a county jail sentence of 365 days of actual time, meaning he must serve the entire duration of the term. If Jiminez fails to surrender, he faces 23 years in state prison.
Under the terms of a negotiated plea agreement, Jiminez must serve one year of county jail time – prior to a formal sentencing hearing – in order for 28 counts to be dismissed. Ultimately, Jiminez is expected to be convicted of one count of willful animal cruelty and two counts of dog fighting, all felonies.
Antelope Valley Superior Court Judge Hayden Zacky said Jiminez will be formally sentenced in 2013. His expected sentence includes three years of formal probation, completion of an animal cruelty counseling program and restitution. Upon sentencing, Jiminez may not have any dogs or live with anyone who has dogs. He also will be subject to search and seizure terms by all law enforcement including the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control.
Yvette Jiminez was immediately sentenced to the same probationary terms as her husband and was ordered released as she already has served 274 days of actual time and was given credit for 410 days due to “good-time, work-time” credit.
(Information via press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.)