A case against a man originally charged with six felony counts alleging malicious mistreatment of animals ended Tuesday.
Golden Hills resident Allen Eugene Lee, 69, was issued infraction fines amounting to $476 and the case was dismissed on account of furtherance of justice.
“We would not have been able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt as far as animal abuse was concerned,” said Deputy District Attorney Judy Rogers, the prosecutor on the case.
Five of six felony counts were reduced to misdemeanors in July, and then the charges were dismissed and plans for a jury trial canceled Oct. 1.
Lee was convicted of two infractions listed as failure to separate animals that are natural enemies in a close space creating a public nuisance, and failure to maintain enclosures in a clean and sanitary condition, according to court dockets.
Defense attorney David Faulkner requested the case be postponed multiple times this year, with reasons listed as “further discovery” according to penal code section 1054.1, said court documents.
Outside court in December 2018, Faulkner said he had a packet of information that would help clarify the case, but he did not elaborate.
Faulkner said in an interview Oct. 1, "The reason the case was dismissed is the evidence given didn't support the charges. The Kern County Animal Control made some outrageous charges against Lee and it wasn't a case that could be prosecuted."
He added that photographs and evidence didn't match testimony in court.
At least six Kern County Animal Control officers searched Lee’s residence and grounds on March 27, 2018. They removed 144 dogs and two cockatiels after a search warrant was served.
KCAC officers found unsanitary conditions at the residence in the 21700 block of Golden Star Boulevard, according to KCAC's report filed in court.
Several inches of feces were covering the backyard and inside the house, with no area for the animals to go without being forced to live in unsanitary conditions, and numerous animals were described as starved and dragging their back legs, KCAC Officer Daniel Burgess said in court documents.