A 34-year-old man seen on a Ring doorbell camera swinging at and kicking a Labradoodle in an Anaheim apartment complex last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty and was placed on one year of probation, authorities said Wednesday, Sept. 6.
Albert Frank Abad Jr., 34, agreed to a court offer from Orange County Superior Court Judge Justin Glenn-Leistikow that reduced the charge from a felony, allowing Abad Jr. to avoid jail time, said Kimberly Edds, spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors had sought a 30-day jail sentence, she said.
Though judges have the ability to reduce crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer disagreed with Glenn-Leistikow’s decision to lower the crime, calling it “shocking” that the judge would “exercise that discretion to give a break to someone who clearly has no issue engaging in cruelty to a vulnerable animal.
“The love of a dog is unconditional and to betray that trust is truly disgusting,” Spitzer said.
The judge lessened the charge after reviewing letters in support of Abad from family and friends.
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Video of the Sept. 15, 2022 attack went viral and showed a man identified as Abad walking up to the Labradoodle, who was sitting next to an exit door, then swinging at the dog and cornering it against the wall before kicking it twice at the Gateway Apartment Homes on State College Boulevard.
Abad then attached a leash and dragged the black Labradoodle, named Steeler, down the hallway away from the camera, kicking it twice more.
A week later, Abad turned himself in to Anaheim police and was arrested, but posted bond and was released.
Abad also took Steeler to Center Sinai Animal Hospital in Los Angeles and gave the dog to staff, police said. Steeler was checked out by a veterinarian and was believed to not have been permanently injured.
Steeler was transferred to Orange County Animal Care and has since been placed with an out-of-state nonprofit animal rescue organization, Edds said.