PROSECUTOR: Principal Criminal Attorney Hilary Bagley- Franzoia, Animal Cruelty Unit
On September 18, 2020, Jose Vaca pled to felony animal neglect and is now prohibited from owning, possessing, residing with, maintaining or caring for any animals for 10 years.
On November 6, 2019, Folsom Animal Control seized five dogs from Vaca’s residential ‘Bully’ breeding operation. Several of the dogs were bred. ‘Bullys,’ also known as ‘Pocket Pits,’ are not bred for aggression, but rather for their extremely stout appearance. Owners and breeders compete in ‘Bully Shows’ and try to produce dogs with the biggest heads, widest chest and shortest, most muscular limbs that can stand lowest to the ground. In achieving these unnatural traits, Bully dogs frequently suffer conditions of inbreeding such as angular limb deformities, dry eyes requiring lifetime lubricants, elongated soft palates requiring surgery, cleft palates and heart murmurs.
Breeding dogs for extreme physical traits is not in itself illegal, but not providing needed medical treatment for painful deformities constitutes animal abuse in California. Many of these painful inbred deformities were present in Vaca’s Bullys without proper treatment or medical care. Other serious medical conditions were allowed to go untreated. One adult dog was found missing most of a rear foot – a consequence of a traumatic, non-healing, self-inflicted amputation. The remaining limb was extremely infected and the dog was housed in this painful condition without painkillers, antibiotics or any veterinarian evaluation. A further surgical amputation was necessary once the dog was seized.