The fiancÚ of Ana Ramos, the woman charged in the biggest abuse case involving cats and dogs in city history, has been arrested in connection with the case.
Jose Rubio, 61, was arrested by Santa Clara County sheriff's officers on Tuesday (June 15) and booked on seven counts in connection to hoarding 42 cats and dogs. Ramos, 54, was arrested May 27 on similar charges.
Rubio was booked for three misdemeanors: two counts of failure to care for animals (one count each for the dogs and the cats) and one count of mistreatment of confined animals (for keeping animals in a confined area without adequate exercise). He could face 1.5 years in jail if convicted of all misdemeanors.
He was to be held on $3,000 bail, according to the June 10 arrest warrant and is scheduled to be formally charged in Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto on Aug. 3.
The other four charges are infractions and carry fines of $250 each: two counts of having more than the number of legally allowable dogs and cats; and two counts of having more than one unspayed dog and unspayed cat.
Police found 17 cats and 25 dogs when they contacted the couple while investigating a report of minor property damage after Ramos allegedly hit a neighbor's trailer with her gold Lexus at the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park in Palo Alto.
When police attempted to talk to the couple about the damage and discuss a parking dispute they had with the neighbor, they smelled a foul odor and discovered the multiple animals packed into a 32-foot, single-wide trailer, according to a police report.
Most of the dogs were Yorkshire terriers, a small breed.
Police summed up the severity of the situation:
"The suspects had more animals in their small trailer than the entire Palo Alto animal shelter."
Some of the animals were suffering from infections or were emaciated and dehydrated. Three dogs appeared to be pregnant, according to the report.
Animal control officers found one water bowl for all of the animals, plus three bowls of food in the trailer. Five cats were also found in a 5-by-5-foot bathroom with a bowl of water. A single litter box was available for all 17 cats.
Rubio told police the couple had moved to the mobile-home park in mid-May from Belmont. Since they were not getting along with their new neighbors, the couple planned to move to Vallejo, he said.
The home's interior was filled with trash and old books and smelled of animal waste, which was on the floor, police said.
The trailer was so full that the refrigerator was kept outside. The exterior of the home was also packed with trash, according to police. When officers initially arrived, they could not even locate the home's door and had to walk around it several times in search of an entrance, they said.
Neighbors told police that late at night some of the dogs were locked in Ramos' Lexus and could be heard whining.
Rubio repeatedly asked to make a deal with police so that he could keep "all of his babies" police said in May, but he was cooperative in allowing officers access to the trailer, while Ramos was not. She repeatedly faked fainting and paramedics were called to check on her health, according to the report. She was charged on June 11 with nine counts related to animal abuse and two counts of resisting arrest. She is scheduled for a pretrial hearing July 30.
The May 27 incident is not the first time the couple has been investigated for animal-related issues.
Rubio and Ramos have had three prior animal-welfare checks by San Mateo County Animal Services officers, according to a county memo. Checks were done Aug. 14 and Dec. 27, 2008, and May 16, 2009.
The first incident involved a report of six dogs and three cats allegedly living in unsanitary conditions. But an animal-control officer found that all of the animals appeared healthy except for a cat with an eye problem. The animals had access to clean water, food and shelter and Rubio later had a vet treat the cat's eye, according to the memo.
No violations were found during the second welfare visit, which occurred after a kitten was purchased from Rubio with fleas and infected ears.
In May 2009, a Yorkshire terrier puppy was purchased from Rubio. The dog allegedly had giardia (a protozoa infection caused by contact with feces) and fleas. Animal-control officers found an unspecified number of Yorkie puppies but all seemed healthy with clean living areas and food and water. Rubio had health certificates and shot certificates for all of the dogs, the memo noted.
The officer issued a warning, however, for Rubio to obtain a breeder's permit and noted that on next contact he should be cited if he failed to do so.