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Sentence in cow cruelty

March 23, 2008|From the Associated Press

One of two men charged with animal cruelty after being seen on videotape apparently abusing cattle at a Chino slaughterhouse has been sentenced to six months in jail.

Rafael Sanchez Herrera, 34, pleaded guilty Friday in San Bernardino Superior Court to three misdemeanor counts of illegal movement of a non-ambulatory animal.

Under the plea deal, he will be deported to his native Mexico after serving jail time.

Prosecutors had said a jury conviction could have put him in jail for three years.

"The public sympathy wasn't going to be on his side," Herrera's lawyer, Mario Martinez, told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

Herrera was sentenced a day after his former supervisor, Daniel Ugarte Navarro, pleaded not guilty to five felony counts and three misdemeanor counts of animal abuse.

The undercover video, shot by the Humane Society of the United States, appears to show Herrera, Navarro and other workers at Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. dragging sick cows with metal chains and forklifts, shocking them with electric prods and shooting streams of water in their noses and faces.

The footage led to an investigation that spurred the Department of Agriculture to issue the largest beef recall in U.S. history Feb 17.

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