Madera woman in brutal animal abuse case gets probation

FRESNO, Calif.

Rosalina Flores took a plea deal that could have landed her jail time but a Madera County judge sentenced her to three years of probation.

A judge denied audio and video recording inside the Madera County courtroom during the sentencing of Rosalina Flores Friday morning.

Flores last month took a plea deal with the district attorney's office for one count of felony animal abuse.

Animal control found a poodle mix named Clover tangled and tied up with a rope cutting into its neck in December of last year. Despite extensive treatment -- Clover died a few days later.

After more than an hour of deliberations and testimony from the officer that found Clover Friday -- a judge sentenced Flores to three years of probation. She'll have to serve 400 hours of community service at the Madera County Animal Shelter. As well as pay thousands of dollars in restitution and fines. Flores also won't be allowed to have a pet or livestock with her.

The district attorney's office wanted jail time -- but the judge decided otherwise. Michael Keitz said, "I think given the way the judge ruled the sentence is what we got. I think that's it."

Flores' attorney declined our request for an interview. And we waited outside of the only public entrance at the courthouse -- only find out Flores had exited through a side gate with private security.

The judge cited Flores' clean criminal record as one of the reasons for probation. And if she violates the terms of her probation she could end up in county jail for up to three years.

Several animal rights groups and local elected officials attended the sentencing.

Kay Rhoads took care of Clover after animal control found him. "I don't know what happens to her. She's history to me now. And now we're just going to move forward and take care of the other cases on the docket. We really are trying to eliminate animal abuse in the Central Valley."

And these people say it starts today.

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