Caretaker sentenced for dogs' attack on joggers

Valley Center man gets probation and must pay medical bills

A Valley Center man has been sentenced to 30 days public work service and 3 years probation and ordered to pay the victims’ medical bills.

The medical bills total more than $130,000, according to the judge who pronounced sentence today, May 3, 2013.

Jose Ledesma, 41, was found guilty of four misdemeanors after a two-day trial in San Diego’s North County courthouse, last month.

Jose Ledesma is not the owner of the dogs that attacked two joggers in November 2011, but he admitted to investigators that he was watching the dogs for their owner that day, according to testimony.

The dogs were described as pit-bull-mixes. Defense attorney Tracey Sang told the judge that “we don’t have doggie DNA” and that there is no “proof” that “Darla and Muffs are the perpetrators.”

A photo lineup of nine different dogs was created by Animal Control officer Joni Palumbo, she said at trial. The officer testified that two of the dog suspects –named as “Darla” and “Muffs” – were identified by victims as part of the pack of six dogs which attacked the men.

Judge Sim von Kalinowski stated today that Ledesma “failed to exercise ordinary care” and noted “we have significant injuries to these two victims” and “this is why we have these laws.”

Jose Ledesma has never been arrested, and he remains at liberty.

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Yeah, like he'll ever be able to pay $130K. Or that if he could, he would. What a crock!

So some poor scmuck gets saddled with restitution. I'm wondering why they did not go after the homeowner ( I'm aware he wasn't home at the time) or why the homeowners insurance was not involved. If I dogsit for someone and the dogs get out, am I 100% liable? And don't get me started about the 'photo lineup'. And one more thing, if the dogs were part of a pack of six then it's pretty obvious that the dogs have been out before. I think the caretaker got screwed.

This was a criminal matter, not civil. The vics can and probably will go after the owner, and insurance may pay for their injuries. Don't confuse the criminal justice system with the civil system. They can be parallel and mostly independent of each other. But if you want to own attack dogs, ya' better be very careful. The law is getting more serious all the time when dogs of that sort cause injuries or death. Recently two women in SD went to prison--hard time--for the death of a neighbor at the jaws of their pitties.

You are right Vis, I'm still not quite sure how I missed that. The civil system is the one that allows lawyers to purchase the beachfront properties and send their children to Harvard. I think folks perception of their "pitties" are the antithesis of what you describe as attack dogs. I have a really mellow German Shepherd but I'm always aware of what she could do if her instincts decide to kick in. Thanks for taking the time to point that out.

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