• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

OC man faces animal cruelty charges

April 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Yorba Linda man pleaded not guilty Thursday to six misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty stemming from footage -- posted on a Web site and turned over to prosecutors by activists. A 14-minute videotape shows Joseph Anthony Deiss on camera with small dogs and rabbits. What he is accused of doing to the animals has the 19-year-old now facing animal-cruelty charges.

Click in the Eyewitness News story window above to watch Eileen Frere's report.

"The defendant is accused of taking two bunnies and a pug puppy and launching them into the air one at a time and allowing them to crash into the ground," said Farrah Emami, OCDA spokesperson.

The video was posted on the Web site MySpace.com. Many parts of the video are very disturbing.

Underneath the video scrolls it says "High Flyer," right before he repeatedly throws a rabbit 15 feet in the air until it crashes to the ground. A pug is then spun around by its hind legs over and over again.

Two dogs and two rabbits are hit a number of times by a kick ball. Deiss appears to pump his arms in victory afterward.

The video was uncovered by the group PETA last month and it was turned over to authorities.

"His actions are deplorable and must not go unpunished," said Michelle Cho, PETA spokesperson.

Officials say the alleged abuse happened June 2007, in the backyard of a home in Yorba Linda.

"Animal cases are very sensitive because everyone can relate to what it's like to have a pet and we appreciate that PETA brought this to our attention," said Emami.

In an unrelated posting, a photo on MySpace.com shows Deiss smiling as he holds a large snake. One of his postings reads: "I just got two crossbow pistols so we can go bunny hunting, ha, ha, ha."

A posting before he turned himself into the court says, "He's bummed." Deiss, who was the subject of a $10,000 arrest warrant, surrendered Thursday morning at the Fullerton Justice Center.

Emami said the case is new and it is too early to address some of the specific sentencing terms and requirements, should Deiss be convicted.

Deiss has pleaded not guilty. If convicted he faces up to three years in jail.

Eyewitness News reporter Eileen Frere and CNS contributed to this report.

 

Click here for more headlines from ABC7 Eyewitness News


Load Comments