NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) – A Seal Beach woman convicted of running a fake animal rescue organization, through which dozens of sick puppies died, was sentenced Friday to four months in jail.
Megan Ann Hoechstetter, 43, was sentenced in Orange County Superior Court to 120 days in jail and three years of probation. This comes after she plead guilty in March to four counts of keeping an animal without proper care and two counts of animal abuse by a caretaker, all misdemeanors.
Hoechstetter used her fake rescue organization Pawlosophy to sell animals that had not received proper healthcare, according to the O.C. district attorney’s office.
When she was arrested in January 2017, Irvine police found six puppies in her possession and another 13 in a Cypress hotel where Hoechstetter was staying. All of the animals had to be taken to the Irvine Animal Care Center due to their fragile health.
Between March 2014 and March 2017, she abused and failed to care for about 100 puppies, the DA’s office said. About 30 puppies died or had to be euthanized after being adopted, the DA’s office said.
Through Pawlosophy, Hoechstetter sold the puppies for up to $400 each knowing that the dogs suffered “viral and parasitic infections, including parvovirus, coccidia, and giardia, and failed to disclose the illnesses to dog purchasers,” the DA’s office said in a news release.
Some of the puppies had possibly been obtained from Mexico, police said at the time. One family told CBS2 they spent more than $3,000 on veterinary bills trying to keep the dog alive.
Hoechstetter had also previously sold puppies under the fake names of Megan Ann Nunez and Megan Ann Choate, the DA’s office reports.
Several of the dogs seized from Hoechstetter were rehabbed, nursed back to health and put up for adoption.