A 43-year-old woman pleaded guilty Friday to illegally selling sickly puppies through a bogus rescue organization.
Megan Ann Hoechstetter of Cypress, who is scheduled to be sentenced June 15, is expected to receive 120 days in jail, Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Malone said.
Sentencing was put off so authorities could determine how much restitution the defendant will pay and for victims to make a statement about the resolution of the case to a judge. Investigators estimate about 70 victims have put in claims for restitution, Malone said.
Hoechstetter pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts of keeping an animal without proper care and two misdemeanor counts of animal abuse by a caretaker.
The defendant will be prohibited from practicing veterinary medicine going forward, buying or selling dogs or running or participating in any animal rescue group. She won’t be allowed to get any more pets or participate in animal adoptions, according to the plea agreement.
About 30 puppies died or were put to sleep, prosecutors said.
Hoechstetter established a fake rescue organization online to sell dogs she may have gotten from Mexico who did not receive proper care, Malone said. One of the business names she operated under was Pawlosophy.
Hoechstetter is accused of “puppy flipping” over the past few years, said Malone, who added that she was getting the puppies in Tijuana.
Adoptive families were paying about $450 for the puppies, but some ended up paying up to $7,500 in veterinary bills trying to save the dogs, Malone said.