Case # 17HM02716

Date: August 10, 2018

WOMAN SENTENCED TO FOUR MONTHS IN JAIL FOR ABUSING ANIMALS BY ILLEGALLY SELLING PUPPIES SUFFERING FROM VIRUSES AND PARASITESTHROUGH FAKE RESCUE ORGANIZATION

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – A woman was sentenced to four months in county jail today for abusing animals by illegally selling puppies that were suffering from viruses and parasites through a fake rescue organization.

Defendant

Charges

Sentence

Megan Ann Hoechstetter, 43, Cypress

Pleaded guilty on March 23, 2018, to the following misdemeanor counts:

  • (4) Keeping an animal without proper care and
  • (2) Animal abuse by caretaker
  • 120 days in county jail
  • Three years of   informal probation
  • Restitution
  • Must complete Benchmark Animal Rehabilitative Curriculum course

Prohibited from:

  • Practicing veterinary medicine
  • Buying or selling dogs
  • Running, participating in, or working with any animal rescue group
  • Participating in animal adoptions
  • Acquiring additional pets

Circumstances of the Case

  • Hoechstetter, who has previously used names Megan Ann Nunez and Megan Ann Choate, ran a business called Pawlosophy, which she falsely represented as an animal rescue.
  • The defendant charged approximately $400 for each 8-week-old dog. Hoechstetter is accused of advertising and selling the puppies without seeking veterinary care.
  • Between March 21, 2014, and March 1, 2017, Hoechstetter abused and failed to care for over 100 puppies.
  • The defendant knew the dogs suffered from viral and parasitic infections including parvovirus, coccidia, and giardia, and failed to disclose the illnesses to dog purchasers.
  • Approximately 30 puppies died or had to be euthanized soon after they were adopted, and most of them suffered from severe diarrhea.
  • On Jan. 1, 2017, a family adopted a puppy named Bailey from Hoechstetter.
  • The dog was seriously ill with parvovirus, and died on Jan. 8, 2017.
  • The owners reported the defendant to the Irvine Police Department (IPD), who investigated this case.
  • On Jan. 11, 2017, IPD contacted Hoechstetter and the defendant had six puppies for sale in her vehicle’s trunk.
  • Later that day, IPD searched a hotel room in Cypress where the defendant held 13 sick puppies without proper accommodations.
  • Due to media coverage seeking additional victims, over 100 families who purchased puppies from the defendant that suffered from viruses and parasites came forward.
  • The IPD Animal Services Unit and the Irvine Animal Care Center cared for the puppies that were rescued from Hoechstetter and made nine available for adoption.

Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Malone, Environmental Protection Unit

 



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