Feed Store Operator Pleads Guilty to Animal Neglect

Charles Mendoza, who abandoned more than 30 animals at a feed store in Lemon Grove, can not own an animal for 10 years and must pay restitution.

A man who abandoned more than 30 animals at a feed store in Lemon Grove in August pleaded guilty to felony animal neglect, the San Diego Humane Society announced today.

As part of his sentence, Charles Mendoza was ordered to pay restitution and cannot own an animal for 10 years, officials said.

Authorities served a search warrant at Dave's Family Feed Store after receiving complaints that the store had allegedly closed for business and several animals were left inside. More than 30 animals were seized, including 16 birds, 11 chickens, rodents, reptiles and a python snake.

"The seized animals have all found new homes or were transferred to other rescue groups for care," said Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. "Instances of gross animal neglect, like this one, should never be overlooked or go unpunished."

Randy Lawrence, Director of Humane Law Enforcement at the Humane Society and SPCA, said half a dozen dead animals were found during the serving of the search warrant. Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for another suspect, he said.

Mendoza -- who served a month in jail -- entered his change of plea Thursday, said Kelli Herwehe of the Humane Society.


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