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Ventura man arrested in the mutilation of family's tortoise

July 20, 2007|From a Times Staff Writer

An 18-year-old Ventura man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of animal cruelty and grand theft in the removal and torture of a 42-pound African spurred tortoise named "Bob."

Jose "Tony" Mosqueda was arrested without incident after a search warrant was served in the 600 block of Cedar Street in Ventura, authorities said.

The tortoise, owned by a Ventura family with a 6-year-old autistic son, was stolen July 7 from his owners' backyard and mutilated by someone who apparently tried to cut the pet's neck and slice his legs from his shell, authorities said.

The tortoise is recovering after undergoing treatment a Montecito animal rehabilitation center.

It is believed that the thief acted alone, police said.

"It's a good feeling," Sgt. Jack Richards said of Mosqueda's arrest. "It just really pulled at some heartstrings, and it's good to have someone in custody."

Witnesses to the torture provided information that helped lead to the arrest, Richards said.

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