A Castaic man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of animal cruelty in the bizarre killing of two household pets, and is due back in court Nov. 6 for a preliminary hearing.
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Jared Foster, 23, is charged with killing his family’s dog and cat at their home on the 32000 block of North Ridge Top Lane in Castaic.
A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 4 for the two sides to discuss any last-minute motions or evidentiary discoveries, and then a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 6.
At a preliminary hearing, Judge Lloyd Nash will decide whether there is enough evidence to warrant a trial.
Both sides currently are in negotiation for a potential plea agreement, according to Ani Bailey, deputy district attorney for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, who is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Foster would face a maximum of five years in jail for two felony animal cruelty charges, Bailey said.
Deputies responded to reports of Foster allegedly acting “bizarre” back in June, when they found a dead animal in the backyard and Foster acting irrationally and aggressively, according to Sheriff’s Station officials.
Foster’s brother is the one who called the Sheriff’s Station.
When deputies arrived, they discovered a dead dog in the backyard that had been set on fire. The deputies were able to talk the suspect into coming out of the house and giving up without incident.
During their subsequent investigation, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies found a cat in the house that had been killed with some type of sharp object.
Shortly thereafter, deputies discovered that the suspect had made a spear out of broomstick and a large kitchen knife, by taping the two together.
Deputies believed he used the spear and possibly an arrow to kill the cat and apparently the dog, as well, and that he set the animals on fire.
The suspect lived at the home with his parents and his adult brother. However, the suspect’s parents were out of town during this incident.
After the deputies’ investigation, Foster then was arrested and booked at Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on animal cruelty charges.
Foster did not show up to his initial hearing, and a $60,000 warrant was put out for his arrest.
Foster was taken into custody by AMTRAK Police, according to Sheriff’s Department arrest records, after officials discovered he had an outstanding warrant.
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Source: Santa Clarita News