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newest news - 9 puppies taken from woman accused of selling sick dogs up for adoption

9 puppies taken from woman accused of selling sick dogs up for adoption

date:1396/01/1-17:05

Crush, an Australian Shepherd mix, is one one of the 19 puppies taken from an Orange County woman accused of operating a fake pet-rescue group and will be available for adoption March 22 at the Irvine Animal Care Center. (Photo courtesy of city of Irvine)

The Orange County District Attorney’s office on Monday, March 20, filed animal abuse charges against a Cypress woman accused of selling sick puppies through a fake pet rescue organization.

Megan Ann Hoechstetter, 42, is charged with 20 misdemeanor counts of keeping an animal without proper care and two misdemeanor counts of animal abuse by a caretaker. If convicted, she could face up to 12 years in county jail, according to a District Attorney news release.

The Irvine Police Department, which investigated the case, announced Monday that nine puppies taken from Hoechstetter in January will be available for adoption on Wednesday, March 22, at the Irvine Animal Care Center.

Hoechstetter, who has used the names Megan Ann Nunez and Megan Ann Choate, ran a business called Pawlosophy and charged about $400 for each 8-week-old dog, the District Attorney said in the news release.

Prosecutors said she advertised and sold the puppies without seeking veterinary care, though she knew they suffered from viral and parasitic infections including parvovirus, coccidia and giardia. She didn’t disclose the illnesses to dog purchasers, according to the release.

Hoechstetter abused and failed to care for more than 100 puppies between March 21, 2014, and March 1, 2017, the release said. About 30 puppies died or had to be euthanized soon after they were adopted, most of them suffering from severe diarrhea, the release stated.

On Jan. 1, a family adopted a puppy named Bailey from Hoechstetter. The dog was suffering from parvovirus and died a week later, according to the District Attorney’s office. The owners reported Hoechestetter to the Irvine Police Department.

The police on Jan. 11 contacted Hoechstetter, who had six puppies for sale in her car trunk, prosecutors said. Later that day, the police searched her hotel room in Cypress, where she held 13 sick puppies, according to the news release.

Media coverage has prompted more than 100 families who say they purchased sick puppies from Hoechstetter to came forward, prosecutors say.

Hoechstetter is scheduled to be arraigned on April 28 at Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.

Those who wish to adopt nine of the 19 puppies taken from Hoechstetter must visit the Irvine Animal Care Center between noon and 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to fill out paperwork. The animals will not be available for public view to avoid scaring them, Irvine police spokeswoman Kim Mohr said.

Potential adopters must be present for a lottery at 2 p.m. Irvine animal care staff will then decide whether lottery winners are suited to adopt the animals.

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The puppies have been cared for at the Irvine Animal Care Center over the last two months.

The nine that will be made available Wednesday have been cleared for adoption by veterinarians. Five more are expected to be cleared on Friday, and the rest are waiting for medical evaluation, Mohr said.

The Irvine Animal Care Center is at 6443 Oak Canyon, Irvine. To view photos of the puppies, go to cityofirvine.org/ipdpuppies. Information: 949-724-7740.




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