TWIN FALLS - A 25-year-old man who admitted to animal cruelty on a Murtaugh dairy will spend the next year on probation.
Jesus Garza was sentenced Tuesday to the time he's already spent in jail and one year of supervised probation by Twin Falls County 5th District Magistrate Judge Calvin Campbell.
Garza's defense attorney, Kent Jensen, said that while his client's actions could not be excused, there were problems with the dairy where Garza worked that made the situation possible.
Campbell agreed the facility had problems but said Garza was still responsible for his own actions.
"What we as people who work with animals cannot forget is that we are the stewards and we are the responsible persons for the animals to make sure that they don't suffer unnecessary cruelty, that they don't suffer cruelty," Campbell said.
Garza said that he was sorry and that he'd learned his lesson.
Twin Falls County Deputy Prosecutor Nancy Austin asked that as part of his probation, Garza not be allowed to work with animals.
Jensen said Garza already had another job at a dairy that had better supervision and specially trained employees to ensure the animals were well taken care of.
Campbell ordered that Garza not work with livestock until further order from the court. He said that, if a letter or an in-person meeting with Garza's new employer convinced him there was proper supervision and animal welfare policies, he may allow Garza to work with animals again.
Campbell also fined Garza $500, with $250 suspended.
If he violates his probation, Garza could have to pay the other $250 and spend up to 78 more days in jail.
Garza was charged with one count of animal abuse after hidden camera footage of reported animal cruelty at Dry Creek Dairy was released by Los Angeles-based Mercy for Animals. Dry Creek Dairy is just southwest of Murtaugh.