Monterey woman sentenced to felony probation for abusing about 100 animals

(BCN) — A woman was sentenced today for abusing about 100 animals found malnourished at her Moss Landing home over the summer, Monterey County district attorney’s officials said.

Superior Court Judge Julie Culver sentenced Dena Rissel, 56, to five years of felony probation, during which time she cannot own, possess or care for any animals, prosecutors said.

On July 27, humane investigators from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for Monterey County searched Rissel’s home on a report of dead animals on the property, according to prosecutors.

The officers found numerous emaciated animals, including a dead cat locked in a crate with food but no water, prosecutors said.

Five of the animals were found dead when SPCA investigators searched the quarter-acre lot that consisted of a home and numerous outbuildings, SPCA officials said.

An anemic border collie mix dog was taken to an emergency veterinary clinic for treatment and a blood transfusion, SPCA officials said.

The animals lived in cluttered, crowded pens kept together with wire or twine. The property was filled with manure and buckets of spoiled milk were found covered in flies, according to the SPCA.

Piglets had no shelter or water and goats ran up to the officers crying out in hunger, SPCA officials said.

Two dogs were locked in crates inside a car and two other dogs were locked in crates placed on the bed of a covered pickup truck, according to the SPCA.

Three sheepdogs were half of their expected weight of 100 to 110 pounds, SPCA officials said.

The officers seized in all 99 animals that comprised of cats, calves, dogs, goats, pigs and chickens from the property, according to prosecutors.

Three days later, Rissel signed over all the animals to the SPCA, prosecutors said.

She was remanded into custody to serve 180 days in jail and is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 19, when she is expected to be released and serve the rest of her sentence under home confinement, prosecutors said.

As part of her sentence, Rissel must comply with all searches by SPCA humane officers to check if she is following the orders of her probation, according to prosecutors.

Rissel was also ordered to undergo mental health counseling for her hoarding behavior, prosecutors said.

If she violates her probation, she could face up to three years and eight months in county jail, according to prosecutors.

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