Judge qualifies animal cruelty case victimless crime

YUMA, Ariz. – The man accused of animal cruelty and neglect was in court Wednesday. No decision was made on the charges he faces.

Mario Soto Duran was arrested December 2015 after authorities found his pregnant dog, Loba, with an orange-sized tumor on its snout stuck to a chain linked fence.

Judge Cruz postponed the hearing to March 30, where Duran will decide if he will accept a plea deal,  potentially changing his felony charges to misdemeanors.

Several advocates for Loba came out in support of the Husky and left unhappy with the court’s decision.

“Very disappointing because it appears that animals are not a priority, and the fact that it was considered a victim less crime is not standing well with me at all,” said Josie Perez of Yuma.

Animal advocates say they hope  more cases involving animal cruelty will draw attention from law makers.

Susan Campbell of Yuma Proud Pet Owners says, “Well it was the beginning and it is always slow. I am a little disappointed because I don’t feel they are being very proactive in the court system for the animals but that has to change with the laws.”

The former dog owner, Duran, declined to make a comment.

“These animals are very important to us here in our lives and Yuma County is eventually going to get to a point where it is going to stop, I hope today and that we go through this court case that the judge and the prosecutor understand how important animals lives are here,” said Anette Lagunas with the Yuma Humane Society.

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