MADERA – A Madera man was sentenced on Monday, Nov. 4, for felony animal cruelty after a jury found him guilty of tying a pit bull to a sign and basically leaving it to starve to death.
Valentino Torres, 44, of Madera, was sentenced yesterday following his conviction by a Madera County jury on Oct. 2
During his jury trial, evidence showed 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 was starving to death, and would have died within days if it had not been rescued.
Yesterday, the court sentenced Torres to 365 days in the county jail and imposed probation upon his release for his animal cruelty.
“This should be a warning to those who deliberately inflict physical abuse or fail to care for animals,” said District Attorney Michael Keitz. “The Madera County District Attorney’s Office takes these cases seriously and will prosecute them to the extent the law allows.”