Animal-hoarding case resolved by plea bargain

Couple barred from keeping animals for three years

Ana Ramos and Jose Rubio won't be able to keep any animals in their trailer home in Palo Alto for three years, according to a plea-bargain agreement reached this week.

The couple was arrested and charged with keeping than 40 dogs and cats in their trailer, was dropped in a plea bargain reached on Tuesday.

The terms of the plea bargain forbid the couple from adopting animals during a three-year probation period, according to Assistant City Attorney Don Larkin.

"Ramos and Rubio plead no contest to animal cruelty, and in exchange were given credit for time served as well as three years of probation during which time they cannot adopt, own, or have any contact with animals," Larkin said.

Police officers first learned of the hoarding on May 28, when they arrived at the Buena Vista mobile home park on El Camino Real in response to a minor property-damage report.

They noticed more than three dogs, a violation of the city's Municipal Code, housed in unhygienic conditions. In response, they sent for animal-control officers who discovered 25 dogs and 17 cats in varying health conditions.

Ramos and Rubio were charged with four code violations as well as three misdemeanor counts. Had they been convicted, they would be subject to a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a fine of $1,000 dollars per violation.

"We're happy that we were able to reach a plea bargain, and are hopeful that Miss Ramos and Mr. Rubio will learn from the events and take better care of animals in the future, should they choose to have them," Larkin said.

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Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 21, 2010 at 10:14 am

What happens if they move out of PA? Are they monitored in any manner?

Hoarders rarely change their behavior. What's the incentive? What sort of treatment is offered? It's not like hoarding and neglecting animals is an accident or mistake. It's an indication of the inability to properly care for beings who are dependent on us for care, food, medical attention and water.

I'm tired of the law not being effective enough with animal hoarders. If you want to hoard something, make it Beanie Babies or troll dolls or old magazines, for Pete's sake.

Like this comment
Posted by Where?
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Oct 21, 2010 at 11:03 am

Where did all their animals go? Are they in foster homes or what? It would be nice for the article to mention where people interested in adopting/fostering these animals can get more info.

Like this comment
Posted by Andrew
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm

DANG IT ANIMAL HOARDERS!!!! Definitely the biggest problem in palo alto since frozen yogurt stores took over downtown 2 years ago.

I'm tired of people in my town asking too much from their town and placing so much trust in the government. If you don't like animal cruelty adopt a pet for goodness' sake.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 21, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Andrew, that's the bee buzzing in your bonnet all about? It doesn't matter if a person adopts an animal or not - that won't stop animal hoarding. But local government is tasked to ensure animal welfare.

BTW, how many animals have you adopted?

Like this comment
Posted by Chelsea
a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2010 at 10:32 am

Hoarders endanger the health and lives of every living creature in their possession, and the suffering they cause is extreme and long term. The rate of recidivism for hoarders nears 100%. We need to educate prosecutors, judges, and legislators that hoarding is like alcoholism: an incurable addiction that means that they must never have another drink-or, in this case, another animal. The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s proposed legislation called the “First Strike and You’re Out” law would stop convicted hoarders from going on to abuse other animals—you can ask your legislators to support this via an online letter at

Like this comment
Posted by one strike
a resident of Nixon School
on Oct 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

"...probation during which time they cannot adopt, own, or have any contact with animals"
So in effect this is one strike already. One mosquito bite and you violated the terms of probation. With laws as vague as this one (define the "contact with animal") everything depends on whims of law enforcement, not on a letter of the law.

Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 9, 2010 at 12:29 am

I agree with Where?, a follow up article would be greatly appreciated, as I'm sure many would be interested in adopting these animals.

Thank you very much, Chelsea, for that crucial information.

You have a unique sense of humor if you find animal cruelty/neglect stories amusing.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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