Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Rosalba (Gil de) Flores, 52 dog severely neglected

Madera, CA

Madera County

December 19 , 2011  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date /Courthouse
Felony accused of animal abuse in 2009

1 1.5-year-old poodle mix dog

Alleged

 

(Rosalba de Gil Flores as she's led away in handcuffs by a Madera police officer, Photo courtesy of Madera Police Department)

In Madera, police have arrested a woman who also faces animal cruelty charges.

Investigators say a young dog named Clover was severely abused and starving while in the woman's care.

The suspect is Rosalba De Gil Flores was taken into custody after an outcry in the community.

Flores was booked at the Madera County Department of Corrections and is being held on $10,000 bail.

The Madera County District Attorney released a statement regarding her arrest, saying "We treat all animal abuse cases seriously. We always have. The incident involving Clover is no different.

Update 1/5/12: Clover, the young poodle mix dog, was found tied to a post with an embedded rope as a collar, died one week after being rescued from complications of Tetanus.

(Photo courtesy of DJ Becker/Madera Tribune) -Clover the severely traumatized, young poodle mix cowers in a cage at the Madera County animal shelter, after surgery to close neck wounds.

The dog was thought to be recovering well in a foster home when he suddenly took a turn for the worse.

The suffering, matted and filthy dog was reported December 19th by a good Samaritan in the 300 block of Harding Street, according to authorities and was seized and taken into protective custody by the City of Madera Animal Control.

Animal control officers said the year and a half old male dog had been neglected, starved and tied to the post for a long time with a rope deeply cutting into his neck for months, if not longer. The rope had likely been placed on the dogs neck when he was a puppy, and never loosened or checked, they said.

City of Madera animal control Officer Chelsea Ruble, who found and rescued the dog, compared the act of neglect and cruelty to torture. "The dog was found on a chain about a foot and a half long. The wound from the (embedded) collar was around his entire neck... I don't know how he survived (in this condition) ... outside in these temperatures. That's torture, to me," Ruble said.

The dog was reportedly the second animal seized from the home for neglect or cruelty in the last two years, according to police reports.

Kirsten Gross, director of Madera County Animal Services said the dog had been recovering in a foster home but became critically ill on Christmas eve, and was taken to a pet emergency facility in Fresno. "He was making good progress in the foster home, but his neck wounds were very deep. On Christmas eve he began having symptoms resembling seizures and stiffening of the muscles. He was diagnosed as the early stages of Tetanus, and they started the treatment," Gross said.

Tetanus, also known as lock jaw, is not all that common but is a serious, systemic bacterial infection that results from deep wounds that are contaminated, she said. "He was hungry but couldn't eat. A feeding tube was inserted and he began to improve. He fought really hard and a day or two later he was standing ... but even with the treatments his condition deteriorated. He just didn't have anything left ... to fight any more...he took a turn for the worse - with neurological symptoms - more rigidity and infection. The vet agreed the kindest thing to do at that point, was to end his suffering," Gross said.

Gross said the Tetanus and death was the direct result of the wounds caused by the embedded collar and she hoped the owners would be held accountable. "This suffering could have been easily prevented with a collar from the dollar store and appropriate care (of the dog)," said Gross. "At least he spent a few days in comfort - in a loving foster home. He was improving, and he was safe and warm inside. He had treats and toys, kindness and love. He had his first bath and a clipping. It's just very sad," Gross said.

Update 1/6/12: Clover's owner was accused of animal abuse in 2009, and in 2010 a warrant was issued for her arrest. But nothing came of it.

Update 1/7/12: Rosalba (Gil de) Flores, 52, was charged with 2 counts of felony animal cruelty, and was released after posting $1,000 bail, according to police.

(Photo courtesy of DJ Becker/NewsMadera.com)

Animal supporters crowded into the city council meeting and demanded prosecution and justice for the small, frail dog that had been named ‘Lucky’ Clover by the officer that rescued him.

(Photo courtesy of DJ Becker/NewsMadera.com)
“It was so lucky we found him when we did, because he wouldn’t have lasted much longer. It was horrible,” officer Chelsea Ruble said.

Police Chief Michael Kime assured the city council and the public his department and the City of Madera Animal Control seriously investigated all alleged cases of animal neglect and cruelty – and where the owners or perpetrators could be identified, the cases were forwarded the cases to the District Attorney’s office for review and prosecution.

Citizens at the City Council meeting questioned the prosecution of such cases by the DA’s office. Madera County District Attorney Michael Kietz said he was an animal owner, and his office also took cases of animal abuse, neglect and cruelty seriously, and had always done so.

Keitz said in the last three years, at least 49 animal cases had come through his office, of the approximately 30,000 or so total cases, and he had personally filed cases against owners for dog fighting and cockfighting, and cases of abuse and neglect. “I was aware of the case on Clover before it came into the office. As soon as we got the case we charged it. We do take these cases seriously, and to heart,” he said. “I don’t know where this misconception has come up that (animal) cases aren’t being prosecuted. If concerned citizens are really worried about this I would be happy to meet with them. I have three pets of my own, I was a former animal science major in college, worked at a veterinary hospital … so to say that animal cruelty cases don’t strike at my heart is just totally wrong,” Keitz said.

Keitz said a typical sentence for a conviction on felony animal cruelty was approximately 16 months of jail or prison time, and the Flores case would get the attention it requires. “(The sentence) could also be up to 2 to 3 years, depending on the case. The monetary fine also varies. If the individuals are (previously) felons, there could be more time added,” he said.

Kay Rhoads, Friends of Madera Animal Shelter volunteer and treasurer, said she was pleased with the prompt arrest of Flores.
Rhoads said she would also like to meet the concerned person that witnessed and took the time to report Clover’s plight to animal control on December 19th.

(Photo courtesy of DJ Becker/NewsMadera.com) - Kay Rhoads, left speaks with a KMPH TV news crew before the city council meeting, about the alleged lack of prosecution of animal neglect, abuse and cruelty cases in Madera.

“I would really like to thank that person, for doing something and trying to save Clover,” Rhoads said. Rhoads also said she and other animal lovers planned to attend and closely follow the Flores trial process. “I just hope there is justice for Clover,” she said.

According to Rhoads, a reward fund will be made available to help motivate residents to report incidents of animal abuse and cruelty.
The money will come from shelter donations and the reward will be paid for information that has lead to an arrest and a conviction in cases of felony animal neglect, abuse or cruelty, she said.

“Unfortunately, this kind of neglect and abuse happens all the time. It happens out of sight, in alleys, behind fences and right here in back yards. We are not going to tolerate it anymore. We need everyone’s help – to look out for the animals. Please watch for and report animal neglect or cruelty, abuse, or dog or cock fighting, whenever you see it,” Rhoads said.

Update 1/8/12: A crowd of animal supporters sat silently in the regular meeting of the Madera City Council, and held photos and banners of Clover. The group spoke in the public comment session and claimed animal cruelty cases were not seriously prosecuted in Madera.

They demanded justice for the dog , and accountability for the dog’s owner.

The dog was first seen and reported by a passerby December 19th from the back alley at the home in the 300 block of Harding Street.

According to animal control officers the dog had been tied to a clothes line post in the backyard for months without adequate food, water or shelter in the freezing cold. He was found on a tangled, 2 foot chain with a plastic rope collar so tightly embedded it was cutting deeply into the flesh of his neck, officers said. The 20 pound dog was also starved, matted and had suffered horribly with the pain and torture of the painful rope for months, according to City of Madera animal control officers.

City of Madera police chief Michael Kime said all cases of animal cruelty were taken seriously. Kime said the investigations could be lengthy because witnesses had to found and interviewed, and suspects denied ownership of animals and attempted to avoid prosecution by moving or providing false names.

“Many things come into play. We do our job and if we build the case properly the case should be successful. I cannot guarantee you that happens in each and every case … but I can assure you that I, and the police department takes these cases seriously,” Kime said.
Gil de Flores told television news crews the dog wasn’t hers, though she did acknowledge it had lived at the residence and had recently died.

According to police records, Gil de Flores also has an outstanding warrant for felony animal neglect and abuse dating from 2010.

Judy Wedding, president of the volunteer group The Friends of the Madera Animal Shelter, handed out photos and spoke to the city council. “Someone has to speak for Clover. I think it’s important to visualize this frail, helpless, 19 pound dog that was so cruelly neglected and abused. He recently lost his life in spite of treatment at two veterinary hospitals and the help of many caring residents. It took many long months for this rope to mortally wound poor Clover. There is no defense for this unspeakable act of criminal neglect and animal torture,” Wedding said.

Wedding said the volunteer group works hard to educate residents and improve the treatment of local animals, and requested the city of Madera adopt a zero tolerance stance on issues of animal neglect and cruelty . “We need your help in this effort. It’s too late for poor Clover, but perhaps we can prevent the next case of abuse. People have to know there are serious consequences for the abuse of an animal. ” Wedding said. “However, my understanding is Clover is the second or third dog to die of an embedded collar in the last 12 to 15 months. We also had Bones, the (emaciated) dog found tied to lamp post and Hanna, the pit bull used as a breeder and then as a bait dog. So unfortunately, this kind of unspeakable cruelty is not uncommon in our town of Madera,” Wedding said.

Kay Rhoads, a long time Madera business woman, animal advocate and founding board member of the volunteer group, fostered Clover after the surgery to remove the embedded collar. “If this dog had just been found a few days earlier he might have survived. (At least) he was a normal, loving dog for a few days – one that any of you might have had in your homes. We can no longer tolerate this kind of inhumane behavior. It’s got to stop here. And we never hear about anybody being prosecuted,” Rhoads said.

Rhoads said the volunteer group has a reward fund and was working on publicity campaign to increase local awareness of the plight of neglected or abused animals. “We are here to implore you as council members to help us, and help the animals of Madera. We as volunteers can only do so much, and we need the help and support … of the city,” Rhoads said.

The Mayor and city council members expressed their concern and support, and moved to bring the matter back before the council at the next regularly scheduled meeting.

Reference:

CBS 47 TV News KSEE 24 NEWS
KMPH News NewsMadera.com