IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) --A Seal Beach woman was arrested on suspicion of felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty acts, including selling sick puppies.
Megan Ann Hoechstetter, 42, was arrested Wednesday by Irvine police. Authorities said she faces multiple felony and misdemeanor charges for crimes against animals. She was arrested after authorities said she sold a sick puppy who died a week after being purchased by an Irvine family.
Hoechstetter is also accused of creating a fake rescue organization called Pawlosophy and using a website to sell animals that she may have gotten from Mexico that had not received proper care. Police believe she may have operated under other fake business names.
When authorities arrested Hoechstetter, she was found with six puppies. Police then learned she had been staying at a hotel in Cypress and went to investigate. Animal services officers found 13 more puppies in the bathroom.
All 19 puppies, who are about 8 to 10 weeks old, were taken to the Irvine Animal Care Center to receive treatment. Authorities said the puppies will not be up for adoption anytime soon because of their age and fragile health.
Animal services officers want to remind people to use caution when buying or rescuing an animal. They provided a list of guidelines that could help:
- Be wary of groups or organizations who only communicate with you online.
- Reputable rescue organizations will always want to visit your home for an inspection.
- Be cautious of anyone who wants to meet you in a parking lot or other public place.
- Always ask to see veterinary records for the animal you want to adopt. Make sure the animal is up to date on vaccinations and has been checked out by a state-licensed veterinarian. The paperwork should match the animal you will adopt.
- Never buy a puppy who has been advertised as "saved from another country."
- Watch out for organizations that request extra donations that were not disclosed in the beginning.
- Don't buy or rescue a puppy younger than 8 weeks old.
- Consider adopting from a local animal shelter, such as a humane society. The organizations must provide medical attention and vet care for their animals.
If you believe you have been a victim or have information on the case, please contact Animal Services Supervisor Kim Cherney at (949) 724-7091 or firstname.lastname@example.org.