Peninsula Man Faces Prison Time for Killing Dog

A 27-year-old Burlingame man accused of fatally punching his  girlfriend's 7-pound dog faces up to three years in state prison if convicted  of the felony animal abuse charges filed against him, Chief Deputy District  Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said today.

Ryan Reeser is charged with two separate felony counts of animal  cruelty and a misdemeanor count of destroying or hiding evidence, Wagstaffe  said. Reeser faces up to three years in state prison if convicted.

Reeser's girlfriend often stayed at his house in Burlingame and  went out the evening of Nov. 20, leaving her 6-year-old miniature pinscher  Godiva with Reeser, Wagstaffe said.

Reeser became angry at the dog, landing multiple punches on the  animal and dislodging the dog's eye from its socket, according to Wagstaffe.

Wagstaffe said Reeser later told investigators the dog "nipped"  him. Reeser's girlfriends told investigators she and Reeser had not been  fighting before the incident occurred.

Reeser allegedly told his girlfriend Godiva had gotten out and was  nowhere to be found that night. His girlfriend's father came to the home the  next morning and found Godiva dead in her plastic carrier about a block and a  half from Reeser's house, Wagstaffe said.

"They quickly determined this (death) was not due to fight with  another dog," Wagstaffe said. "(The) veterinarian said very clearly it was a  dog who would not have died instantly and would have extensively suffered  before dying."

The district attorney's office charged Reeser after obtaining  necropsy results and conducting several interviews with him, according to  Wagstaffe. The necropsy showed the dog suffered bruising in 13 different  places and died of blood loss and injuries incurred from blunt trauma.

Charges were filed Thursday and a $200,000 warrant was issued for  Reeser's arrest. Reeser was scheduled to turn himself in to the district  attorney's office at some point today or Tuesday and will likely be in court  this week, Wagstaffe said.

Reeser does not have a criminal record in the county, according to  Wagstaffe.

Wagstaffe said the county has seen an increase in animal abuse  cases in the past year.

Jesus Calderon-Franco, 33, was charged with stomping to death a  kitten owned by his roommate's daughter. The kitten, named Pucci, died from  multiple fractures to the body and was found in a trashcan near  Calderon-Franco's home.

Calderon-Franco pleaded no contest Wednesday to charges of felony  animal abuse and accepted a plea deal of up to 16 months in prison, according  to Wagstaffe.

"It is inordinate the number of felony animal abuse cases we have  seen here in the last few months," Wagstaffe said. "We have had several in  the last year, and I hope it's a coincidence and not a trend."

Wagstaffe said the cases are specifically felony cases in which a  person intentionally inflicts great pain and death on animals.

Peninsula Humane Society spokesman Scott Delucchi said the San  Mateo County District Attorney's Office has taken a firm stance on animal  abuse cases.

"We're really fortunate," Delucchi said, "Our district attorney's  office does treat these cases very seriously and that's not always the case  in other parts of the country. It's really rare for people to get a prison  sentence for an animal abuse case."

The humane society is notified by individuals or law enforcement  agencies of animal mistreatment and then investigates cases before sending a  report to the district attorney's office, which decides which cases to  prosecute.

Delucchi said most cases are solved by counseling pet owners on  proper care of their animals. In the rare felony abuse cases, Delucchi said  victims and their family members often have a hard time believing what has  happened.

"We see a range of emotions," Delucchi said. "There is disbelief,  anger and sadness."

Delucchi said people who strike out against animals often fall  into one of three categories. Some people hurt animals because of anger and  frustration if the animal misbehaves. Others mistreat animals to get back at  a person. Delucchi said there are some cases of mean, sadistic people who  enjoy feeling powerful over something that is powerless.

Copyright BAYCN - Bay City News
Contact Us