Case # 17HM02716
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – A woman was sentenced to four months in county jail today for abusing animals by illegally selling puppies that were suffering from viruses and parasites through a fake rescue organization.
Defendant: Megan Ann Hoechstetter, 43, Cypress
Pleaded guilty on March 23, 2018, to the following misdemeanor counts:
- (4) Keeping an animal without proper care and
- (2) Animal abuse by caretaker
- 120 days in county jail
- Three years of informal probation
Restitution: Must complete Benchmark Animal Rehabilitative Curriculum course
- Practicing veterinary medicine
- Buying or selling dogs
- Running, participating in, or working with any animal rescue group
- Participating in animal adoptions
- Acquiring additional pets
Circumstances of the Case
- Hoechstetter, who has previously used names Megan Ann Nunez and Megan Ann Choate, ran a business called Pawlosophy, which she falsely represented as an animal rescue.
- The defendant charged approximately $400 for each 8-week-old dog. Hoechstetter is accused of advertising and selling the puppies without seeking veterinary care.
- Between March 21, 2014, and March 1, 2017, Hoechstetter abused and failed to care for over 100 puppies.
- The defendant knew the dogs suffered from viral and parasitic infections including parvovirus, coccidia, and giardia, and failed to disclose the illnesses to dog purchasers.
- Approximately 30 puppies died or had to be euthanized soon after they were adopted, and most of them suffered from severe diarrhea.
- On Jan. 1, 2017, a family adopted a puppy named Bailey from Hoechstetter.
- The dog was seriously ill with parvovirus, and died on Jan. 8, 2017.
- The owners reported the defendant to the Irvine Police Department (IPD), who investigated this case.
- On Jan. 11, 2017, IPD contacted Hoechstetter and the defendant had six puppies for sale in her vehicle’s trunk.
- Later that day, IPD searched a hotel room in Cypress where the defendant held 13 sick puppies without proper accommodations.
- Due to media coverage seeking additional victims, over 100 families who purchased puppies from the defendant that suffered from viruses and parasites came forward.
The IPD Animal Services Unit and the Irvine Animal Care Center cared for the puppies that were rescued from Hoechstetter and made nine available for adoption.
Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Malone, Environmental Protection Unit.