Woman Held to Answer to 40 Felony Counts for Emaciated Dogs
A Riverside County Superior Court judge ruled on Thursday afternoon (May 31) that there was sufficient evidence to hold a woman to answer to 40 felony counts of animal cruelty.
Kim Settle Gallegos (DOB: 12-18-1956) is facing charges stemming from a July 2016 investigation at a property in the Lake Mathews area where officers discovered emaciated and dehydrated dogs. There were also 13 dead dogs.
An Animal Services officer responded to a call after someone reported skinny dogs at the property – and no one apparently had been at the site “for weeks.” Officer Will Luna described a stench permeating from the ranch-style property located on Avocado Lane, just east of La Sierra Avenue.
Recognizing something was wrong, Officer Luna told his supervisors he appeared to be dealing with an exigent situation. He was able to observe four dogs in bad condition. When he and his colleagues gained access, they described a deplorable scene.
“These dogs were left in shameful conditions,” Commander Chris Mayer said after the seizure of 27 dogs that somehow survived what appeared to be conditions without food and water during a heat wave. “Our veteran officers were shaking their heads at the total disregard the owners showed toward these poor animals.”
Gallegos had some type of relationship with Carl Dixon, of Los Angles, who is believed to have been the owner of the dogs. Both of their names were on a lease for the Avocado Lane property, as presented as evidence in court. Mr. Dixon, who once bragged about his award-wining show dogs at a Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting, was in custody in Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles on unrelated charges.
Telephone conversations between Ms. Gallegos and Mr. Dixon on jail recordings were presented in court as evidence. The recordings, said the judge, illustrated that Ms. Gallegos had knowledge that the dogs needed help. Mr. Dixon told her during one conversation that she needed to help the dogs “or they will die.” Ms. Gallegos responded, “I know.”
Commander Mayer provided testimony about the evidence he and his fellow officers gathered in support of the initial arrest warrant for Ms. Gallegos. Later on Thursday, veterinary Dr. Sara Strongin testified about the health of the dogs. Many of the dogs were impounded with body condition scores (BCS) scores of 1 (emaciated) and 2 (very thin), Dr. Strongin testified. One dog succumbed to its condition immediately upon impound, she said.
All but three of the dogs were transferred to Riverside County’s rescue group partner organizations, including 11 to Wags & Walks, a Los Angeles-based group. Riverside County euthanized three of the dogs after all efforts to rescue them were exhausted.