Emotions ran high in what should’ve been a sentencing hearing for convicted animal abuser Steven Paul Cepeda Borja. As per his plea agreement, Borja faces up to ten years behind bars for brutally beating American pit bull terriers Rex and Lucky back in September 2015.
The beating was caught on camera and garnered hundreds of thousands of views on social media.
On the stand on Tuesday to authenticate the video was the dogs’ owner, Alfredo Bustamante. Although he did not record the video, Bustamante could identify for the court his yard and his pets, as well as Borja, the man he hired as a caretaker for his dogs.
Prior to Bustamante taking the stand, veterinarian and owner of Wise Owl Animal Hospital Dr. Joel Joseph testified on the multiple injuries he treated the dogs for, including a broken leg, bruised ribs, and damaged kidneys. According to Dr. Joseph, Lucky sustained injuries similar to falling off a third-story building.
As for Rex, his injuries mirrored that of getting hit by a car.
Although Borja is responsible for the severe injuries to the pair of dogs, Dr. Joseph testified that it was the dogs’ owner who failed to follow doctor’s orders – and as a result, the dogs did not fully recover from the incident. Dr. Joseph specifically cited a Facebook video of Bustamante playing Frisbee with one of the wounded dogs just days after he was released from medical care.
Dr. Joseph testified that Bustamante abandoned Rex, citing his failure to pay the medical expenses or change the dog’s cast which was full of mold and feces.
When confronted by defense attorney Suresh Sampath on Tuesday, Bustamante raised his voice and threatened to kill Borja for the harm he caused to his pets. “This guy almost killed my dogs!” he proclaimed. His actions prompted marshals to step in and Judge Linda Ingles to call for a recess. “Get him under control,” Her Honor demanded.
Sentencing was continued to November 4.
Additonally, the unpaid medical bills have resulted in another case at the small claims courtroom between Bustamante and Wise Owl Animal Hospital.
[Source Story: HumansLovingAnimals ]