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March 23, 2023

Man jailed for animal cruelty

WATSONVILLE — A Watsonville man was arrested Monday after neighbors reported seeing him allegedly abusing a dog, Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter General Manager Melanie Sobel said Wednesday.

Dustin Davis, 44, was charged with cruelty to animals, a felony. He was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.

According to Sobel, a neighbor on the 100 block of Paseo Drive in Watsonville took a cell phone video of a man in a neighbor’s backyard abusing a dog on July 17. The neighbor brought the video to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter the next day.

Animal Shelter officers got a search warrant for the home and discovered Davis is a former boyfriend of the resident of the home, who was out of town when the incident occurred. The Watsonville Police Department assisted in the arrest.

The dog, obtained by the owner free of charge on Craigslist, was seized and brought to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter for treatment by a staff veterinarian.

“Without the assistance of the alert citizen videotaping this egregious event, this subject would not have been caught,” Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Field Services Manager Todd Stosuy said. “We hope this story empowers citizens to use their cell phones to capture cases of animal cruelty and neglect so that we can ensure justice is served.”

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter responds 24 hours a day, seven days a week to calls for animals in distress. The agency operates two animal shelters, one at 2200 Seventh Ave. in Santa Cruz and the other at 580 Airport Blvd. in Watsonville. The shelter can be contacted at 454-7200.


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