Lakeside woman convicted of failing to properly care for dogs - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Lakeside woman convicted of failing to properly care for dogs at her boxer-rescue organization

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EL CAJON (CNS) - A Lakeside woman was convicted Tuesday of misdemeanor charges for failing to properly care for more than five dozen dogs at her East County home, where she operated a boxer-rescue organization.

Alice Via, 62, faces up to three years in prison but could be placed on probation when she is sentenced March 11 by El Cajon Judge William McGrath.

After a five-day trial, a jury found Via guilty of having an unlawful kennel, keeping animals in unsanitary conditions, failure to treat contagious animals and two counts of failure to care for an animal.

The defendant was acquitted of a sixth count of failing to care for an animal, said Deputy District Attorney Karra Reedy.

The charges against Via arose after a person came to adopt a dog and notified authorities of the unsanitary conditions. More than five dozen canines were seized in a subsequent raid last March 10.

Defense attorney Chris Morris said some of the dogs had just been rescued and were not in the best condition when Via got them.

Animal control officers found 63 dogs -- mostly boxers, Chihuahuas and a few small terriers -- in dirty cages stacked throughout Via's two-bedroom home, said Dan DeSousa of San Diego County Animal Services.

At the time, many of the dogs had skin conditions and other illnesses, along with injuries to their feet and noses from trying to escape from their cages, DeSousa said.

Despite the "appalling" conditions, Via apparently had the best of intentions in taking care of the canines, which were well-fed, DeSousa said.

Morris told the jury that the Department of Animal Services rarely enforces licensing laws on rescue operations.

He said the county entrapped Via by asking her to take dogs that would otherwise be killed.

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