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Ventura County News Roundup

PIRU : Man, Son to Face Animal Abuse Trial

September 29, 1990|JANET BERGAMO

A Piru man and his son were bound over for trial on charges of felony animal abuse after a motion to suppress evidence was denied by Municipal Judge John J. Hunter during a preliminary hearing Friday.

Alfred (Dale) Beem and his son Robert are scheduled to be tried in Superior Court on Oct. 12.

Defense lawyers sought to eliminate testimony and pictures taken by Ventura County Humane Society officers and a sheriff's deputy because they seized more than 100 emaciated horses, sheep and rabbits from corrals on Piru Canyon Road without a warrant.

Hunter ruled that while there was no precedent declaring animal neglect an emergency, Deputy Todd Hawley's observations gave officers probable cause to enter the property, and their actions were proper since "exigent circumstances" do not require a warrant.

"This is a place of chaos," Hunter said as he examined pictures of the site. "There is sufficient cause to believe the defendants may be guilty."

Evidence was also given by Beem's younger son Michael, who testified although Hunter warned him that he could incriminate himself by answering questions from Deputy Dist. Atty. Mark Pachowicz.

The younger Beem said all the animals were in fair condition when he left the Piru Canyon residence on April 20 to care for his grandparents.

Veterinarian Betsy Connolly testified that the animals' deterioration from fair to starved condition must have occurred within a few months before they were impounded by the Humane Society May 31.

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