Robert Weaver, 38, was arrested in September after investigators found 23 dogs and a steer dead from starvation and heat exhaustion on his 5-acre property on the 15000 block of Linn Road.
Weaver was a breeder of Louisiana Catahoula leopard dogs.
Seven dogs survived, six of them Catahoulas. All of them were sent to a rescue facility and have recovered, Deputy District Attorney Stephen Maier said.
"The tragedy of the animal cruelty is that he could have easily sold, given away or adopted these dogs out," Maier said.
The weight of the three-year sentence, however, comes from multiple counts of construction fraud. A contractor, Weaver had performed shoddy construction work at the homes of elderly people and overcharged them for the service, authorities said.
Maier said Weaver originally agreed to a plea agreement to serve a year in the County Jail on one felony forgery charge in September, but once released on his own recognizance, he went out and bilked an elderly Clear Lake woman on a job to install a lattice patio cover at her home.
|surviving dogs at rescues|
"We gave him the benefit of the doubt because he had no prior record," Maier said. "But when he went out and did it again when he was already involved in court cases, that's where state prison came in."
If Weaver had rejected the plea deal and gone to trial, he would have faced the potential of more than 10 years in state prison, Maier said.
(Recordnet.com - Nov. 27, 2008)