Owner Of Compton Animal Rescue Facing Twenty-Five Counts Of Animal Cruelty In California

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced charges against Damian Wesley, the owner of the non-profit organization Compton Animal Rescue, for animal cruelty and neglect of more than two dozen dogs.

“I am deeply saddened by the alleged animal cruelty committed by Mr. Wesley,” said District Attorney Gascón. “Our community relies on animal rescues to properly care for animals as they await their new homes. The suffering endured by these innocent animals is incomprehensible and will not be tolerated in our community. Our Office’s Animal Cruelty Section will work vigorously to seek justice in this matter.”

“We are grateful to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for their partnership in bringing this offender to justice,” said Marcia Mayeda, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. “As animal lovers, we are always disturbed to discover these tragic cases.  We remain vigilant in protecting animals from such abuse and neglect.”

On January 3rd, 2024, search warrants were executed by the LA County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation and the LA County Department of Animal Care and Control at two locations in the city of Compton. Each location was tied to Wesley and Compton Animal Rescue.

Approximately 145 live animals and 12 animal carcasses were recovered during the search. The animals recovered included dogs, cats, chickens, a rooster, tortoise, turtles, pigs, snakes, a horse, hamster, rabbits, a hawk, and multiple lizards.

The vast majority of animals were found to be severely underweight and suffering from various illnesses. Wesley is alleged to have seen the condition of 25 distressed animals and had time to act, but did not.

Additionally, Compton Animal Rescue’s 501(c)3 non-profit status has been revoked.

“What may have started out as good intentions quickly turned into yet another inexperienced person taking on more than he could handle. As the dominos fell, so did the voiceless animals. Many animals ended up injured, starved, or dead while under Compton Animal Rescue’s care,” Alison Espie, an animal advocate who has been closely monitoring this animal cruelty case, told WAN.

“I have received firsthand reports of dogs fighting on his property and Damian encouraging it, Damian and his familial volunteers hitting the dogs with shovels to enforce control, dogs cannibalizing/eating other dogs on the properties, cats living in inches of filth and feces, and more,” continued Espie. “Many of his volunteers continued to go every day because they knew the animals wouldn’t eat, receive love, or be let out to use the bathroom if they didn’t go. Those same volunteers are now left completely traumatized.”

During Wesley’s first court date on April 17th, his bail was set at $50,000. At least six dogs were seen by Animal Control officers when they visited his property. The judge ordered Wesley to not house anymore animals on any of his properties moving forward.

Animal Control officers went back to his property the morning of his second court date on April 27th. Due to officers finding more animals, his bail was revoked and he was taken into custody.

“My rescue ended up taking in three of Wesley’s dogs: Ash, Camila, & Abigail. Ash’s toes were so swollen, raw, and irritated that the shelter sent her to a private vet for help. She ended up receiving stitching to alleviate the pain. Her left paw is still swollen to this day. Four-year-old Camila was clearly used for breeding and Abigail is missing several teeth,” said Divya Cowgill, Owner and Founder of FurryTail Endings rescue. “Like most animals we save, all three dogs have been an absolute joy. How could they not be? They survived at the hands of an abuser and then survived the euthanasia list at a high-kill shelter.”

Wesley is still in custody, but his next court date is on July 8th. He is charged with 25 felony counts of cruelty to an animal by neglect. If convicted, Wesley will face a maximum sentence of 11 years in county jail.

Please help by contacting Detective Alonzo Real and urge him to prosecute and pursue the maximum charges available against Damian Wesley at areal2@animalcare.lacounty.gov

Los Angeles County residents can report suspected cases of animal cruelty and neglect by calling (562) 940-6898.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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