MADERA – A Madera man has been convicted of animal cruelty by a jury in Madera County Superior Court, according to District Attorney Michael Keitz.
During the trial of Valentino Torres, 44, evidence revealed that in September 2009, a Madera animal control officer was dispatched to the area of Clinton and Vineyard to investigate a dog that had been tied to a street sign.
The responding officer found a pit bull there that was so severely emaciated that its bones were clearly visible, it had large open sores and was infested with ticks and mites.
Witnesses said Torres tied the dog to the sign. When officers confronted Torres he admitted tying the dog to the sign and said he had the 3-year-old dog since it was a puppy.
Officers found the dog had been kept tethered with an 18-pound chain to a doghouse and was forced to drink from a mud puddle. A veterinarian testified the dog as starving to death, and would have died within days if it had not been rescued.
The jury’s verdict was received on Oct. 2, however, the proceedings were continued to allow the court to determine whether Torres had in fact been previously convicted of a strike offense. On Oct. 15, the court ruled that Torres was previously convicted of a strike on July 12, 1994, for unlawfully discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner.
“It is truly unbelievable that anyone could be so callous as to allow an animal to suffer as Torres did,” said District Attorney Michael Keitz.
The Superior Court has scheduled Torres to be sentenced on Oct. 28, in Madera Superior Court where he faces up to 6 years in state prison because of his prior strike.