Wednesday, April 6, 2005
Carmel on the Case: Animal Abuse
Tonight a Miami-Dade mother and son are behind bars in Palm Beach County. They are in jail after admitting animal abuse in connection with a puppy mill they once owned. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is - "on the case."
WSVN -- Pedro Martinez planted himself firmly in front of our camera to block the picture of his wife and step son entering a Palm Beach County courtroom.
Karina Pubchara and Jorge Pubchara had pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and were about to begin serving a 30-day jail sentence.
The pair abandoned seventy-nine suffering dogs in filthy runs.
Cruelty Investigator: "This one is really in bad shape."
It was two years ago when authorities were called to the Puppyland Kennel and found conditions so terrible - every dog was seized.
Investigators believe puppies born here were sold at pet stores the mother and son operated in Miami-Dade.
Back then karina pubchara told me the conditions at the kennel weren't all that bad.
Karina Pubchara: "They were not in bad condition."
Carmel Cafiero: "It wasn't filthy?"
Karina Pubchara: "It wasn't filthy."
She has denied wrong doing for more than a decade.
My first story on Pubchara was in 1991 when a customer claimed she paid for a purebred dog and got a mixed breed dog instead.
Carmel Cafiero:"She also says she got no documents as the law requires."
Karina Pubchara: "Tell her to get a lawyer, I don't have to talk to you."
Back then, we found dead and dying puppies behind her Flagler pet shop and while we were inside, someone knocked out the windows of our station vehicle.
Pubchara racked up so many complaints and so many fines at the Flagler shop and at a shop in Kendall - Miami-Dade Police shut her down.
Pedro Martinez: "I know my rights."
That day, Pedro Martinez even had to be restrained by police.
And he's still in the middle of things now. When judge Paul Moyle called the mother and son - Martinez walked up.
Judge Paul Moyle: "Then why did you come up when I called George Pubchara? You shouldn't be here. Go back and have a seat please."
Then Karina asked if her husband could drive her to the jail.
Karina Pubchara: "He would feel safter you know."
Judge Paul Moyle: "No ma'am that will not be permitted. You are now taken into custody by the Sheriff's Office."
And with that she was handcuffed and searched in preparation for her trip to the county facility.
When son jorge pubchara was taken into custody - he moaned out loud as he was handcuffed.
At this point the Pubchara's owe Miami-Dade County more than $23,000 dollars in outstanding fines for the way they operated their pet shops.
But it is in Palm Beach County where they will have to do time.
James Cunna: "A lot of them had disease. Some of them were just so malnourished that the ones that couldn't be adopted were put to sleep."
The day's events however were far from over. Our interview with the prosecutor -- interrupted.
James Cunna: "It's to run concurrent on each count."
Pedro Martinez: "Carmen Cafiero, you have to be in front of God!"
Pedro Martinez again became the center of attention.
Pedro Martinez: "After what you're doing in Miami a lot of dirty things you're doing in Miami. You know sooner or later I see you in Miami."
After they do their 30 days, the pair will be on probation for the next year. A special provision - they are not allowed to be involved in the breeding or selling of puppies. So they are out of the puppy business - at least for now.
For more information, or if you have a story for Carmel:
Call her in Dade at 305-627-CLUE
Or In Broward at 954-921-CLUE