Fresno County man admits animal cruelty

FRESNO, Calif.

"Cruelty to an animal is a felony," Judge Gregory Fain said to Gary Long Friday morning. "Do you understand the charge?"

"Yes sir," Long replied.

"What's your plea?" the judge asked.

"No contest," Long said.

Long was defiant after his arrest last month, but he quickly changed his tune. He admitted to six counts of animal cruelty Friday, but prosecutors agreed not to send him to prison in exchange for his quick admission. But CPS also took his kid last month, and sheriff's deputies are investigating him for elder abuse as well.

Abandoned hay and empty kennels are all that's left on the Fresno County property where sheriff's deputies found animals living and dying in squalor last month.

Investigators say they found a dead cow and several dead chickens. Rabbits and dogs had no water, and one pig appeared near death until a deputy hosed it down.

The SPCA seized all the animals. But Long's wife told an Action News reporter investigators had it all wrong.

"This is not right," said Brittany Long. "Our animals come first. We, in most cases, feed our animals before we feed ourselves."

A month later, Gary Long admitted cruelty to six animals -- four dogs, the dead cow and the parched pig. But even after his admission, he has plenty of support, and his attorney asked the judge to let long out of jail to go home.

"He is not a flight risk," said public defender Adrian Dresel-Velasquez. "He is not a safety risk. I have multiple letters from family and friends on his behalf."

Judge Fain denied his request.

The prosecutor called attention to the extreme suffering of the animals, as well as two other criminal cases long could face after the animal cruelty case is resolved.

Investigators believe they may have stumbled upon child endangerment and elder abuse when they raided the property.

"This deal does not include any other investigations that may be stemming from the residence," said prosecutor Jarrett Cline.

Long will be sentenced next month. He won't go to prison, but he could spend as much as a year in jail, not including what may come up in the other investigations.

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