LANCASTER – A former assistant superintendent at the Palmdale School District has pleaded no contest in an animal cruelty case involving 19 pit bulls that had to be euthanized after they were recovered from her home in 2014.
Pauline Ruth Winbush, 53, and her live-in boyfriend, Kevin Williams, 52, each pleaded no contest Tuesday to one felony count each of possession with intent for dog fighting and animal neglect.
Winbush is facing 270 days in county jail, while Williams is facing a year in jail, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The two will also have to attend animal cruelty classes and will be on five years formal probation. State prison sentences of more than three years were suspended, provided they do not violate the terms of their probation.
Formal sentencing is set for May 5 at the Antelope Valley courthouse.
A third defendant, Rodney Scott, 47, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty. He is set to be sentenced next April and will not be allowed to own or possess any animals for a year, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Officers from the county’s Department of Animal Care and Control searched Winbush’s Antelope Acres property in 2014 after a horse belonging to Winbush and Williams was found roaming the streets. Officers discovered dogs being kept inside the home in crates that were filled with feces and urine, according to Deputy District Attorney Lyle Riggs.
Some of the animals showed signs of being used for dog fighting, and the canines had to be euthanized, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Other animals found on the property included a tortoise, snakes and a box full of mice that appeared to be eating each other out of hunger, Riggs said.
At a hearing in which Winbush and Williams were ordered to stand trial, it was revealed that evidence discovered at the property linked Scott to the couple in an operation to breed pit bulls for fighting, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
At the time of the raid, Winbush was an assistant superintendent for the Palmdale School District. The district’s board of trustees voted unanimously last year to terminate her employment agreement.
Previous related stories: