Cesar Cerda

Mercedes Ruiz Monterrubio Cerda

Cody Eugene Grimes

Trained dogs to fight to the death for money

Galt, CA

Sacramento County

December 17, 1998

Cesar Cerda, age 26, was sentenced to a seven-year state prison term in July, 1999, after pleading no contest to 63 counts of animal cruelty, torture and other charges. Cerda earned up to $5,000 a month from bettors that watched the dogs fight in a bloodstained pit.

In December 1998, authorities seized 55 pitbull dogs from Cerda's home. Also found was training equipment, treadmills and chains. The fights were captured on videotape.

Cerda was a veterinary technician before his conviction.

Mercedes Ruiz Monterrubio Cerda, Cesar's wife, who authorities said was largely a spectator in her husband's elaborate dogfighting enterprise plead no contest to 4 misdemeanor charges in exchange for a maximum 1 year sentence in the county jail.

Grimes, age 21, plead guilty to burglary and no contest to conspiracy in stealing 18 of 55 pitbulls that were being held as evidence in Sacramento County animal shelter.  He will receive a maximum sentence of 3 years in state prison.

The pitbulls were recovered shortly after they were stolen in December 1998.

All the dogs were euthanized.  Not a single dog was afforded the opportunity to be behavior evaluated for adoptability by the Sacramento County Animal Care facility.

At the time the dogs were euthanized, the Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation was in violation of California state law by refusing to adopt out pitbulls from their shelter.  Their pitbull policy directly conflicts with the express language of the state statute prohibiting the regulation of vicious dogs based on breed.  The state statute clearly prohibits  this type of regulation and therefore any policy limiting or prohibiting the adoption of a dog based solely on breed is not legal.  Reference:  County of Sacramento Office of the County Counsel 1/11/2000.

Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation has been in compliance with the law since the 2000 legal opinion.

References:

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Channel 6000 KOIN-TV News

The Associated Press

The Hampton Union News

The Sacramento Bee