A 72-year-old man suspected of robbing a Corona bank is also under investigation for allegedly housing his nearly three-dozen dogs amid wretched conditions.
“Over all the years of my career, this is by far the worst call I have ever been to,” Corona Animal Control Officer Bill Sellers said. “I have never witnessed this level of blatant neglect.”
Sellers said animal waste was spread throughout the house, much of it decomposed and having the consistency of mulch. He said many of the canines were emaciated, suffering from malnutrition and disease. All of the furniture in the house was destroyed, leaving only frames, according to Sellers.
“One adult dog had to be humanely euthanized as a result of its several open wounds and its extreme medical condition,” he said. “All of the dogs and puppies were taken to the Corona Animal Shelter (to) be fed, hydrated and evaluated in a quarantine status.”
Robert Bustamante Flores of Corona was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of second-degree robbery for allegedly holding up a Pacific Western Bank branch in the 1000 block of West Sixth Street on June 20.
Flores was taken into custody at the Corona Police Department, where he had been summoned for questioning, according to Detective Mario Hernandez.
He said that after gathering information from the suspect, investigators obtained a search warrant to look for additional evidence at Flores’ house in the 100 block of North Vicentia Avenue.
“Flores told investigators that he had about 26 dogs in the main area of his home,” Hernandez said, adding that the suspect pointed out that he slept in the garage and let the dogs roam the house.
Police and animal control personnel arrived at the residence after dark and located 35 canines, including seven newborn puppies.
Investigators seized items allegedly used during the bank robbery, as well.
During the holdup, Flores allegedly presented a note demanding money and received an undisclosed amount of cash from a teller, then fled, according to Hernandez.
He said when the case is submitted to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office for review, investigators will be seeking animal cruelty charges against Flores, in addition to the robbery count.
The suspect has no prior documented felony convictions.
–City News Service
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: