Four employees arrested at Broc’s Puppies
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Four employees at Broc’s Puppies were arrested Friday morning for charges ranging from felony parole violations to possession of a controlled substance suspected to be methamphetamine.
El Dorado County Sheriff’s officers arrested David Franks, 45; Andres De La Torre, 26; James Rogan, 46; and Octavio Trejo, 29. All men are residents of South Lake Tahoe.
A sheriff’s office spokesperson said the incident began with David Franks’ arrest for a fugitive parole violation from the state of Nevada. The arrests snowballed from there, Lt. Les Lovell said.
“The more people we contacted, the more suspects we came up with,” Lovell said. “It was just an unusual circumstance for one business to have that much unlawful behavior.”
After officers noticed a visibly sick dog, El Dorado County Animal Services officers were contacted.
“The dog was sick and needed immediate care,” Lovell said.
Supervising animal services officer Lt. Robert Gerat said two puppies were removed from the pet store around 10 a.m.
A woman reached at Broc’s Puppies on Friday evening declined to comment on the case.
The store at 2291 Lake Tahoe Blvd. is owed by Dennis Franks, who shares the same last name as one of the arrested employees. Officials could not confirm if the two are related.
All of the arrested men were booked into El Dorado County Jail on Friday and held without bail except Trejo, whose bail is set at $19,000 for suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia and a controlled substance suspected to be methamphetamine.
De La Torre was booked on suspicion of possessing a hypodermic needle and a felony parole violation. Rogan was booked on both felony and misdemeanor warrants out of San Bernardino County in California.
Lovell said none of the charges were related to animal cruelty.
In July, El Dorado County prosecutors filed three misdemeanor charges – including one for alleged animal cruelty – against store owner Dennis Franks.
He was charged with animal cruelty, obstructing a peace officer and failure to care for an animal for alleged incidents involving a Shetland Sheep Dog puppy on June 18, according to the complaint.
Dennis Franks allegedly refused to give the puppy needed veterinary care for a broken bone the puppy had suffered and was evasive when questioned about the puppy by a county animal services officer, said Hans Uthe, El Dorado County assistant district attorney.
The charges are unrelated to an investigation surrounding allegedly forged veterinary documents at the store. Those allegations prompted a search of the puppy store in June.
The store opened in 2008 among continued criticism from animal advocates who allege that Dennis Franks is selling puppies bought from brokers who purchase the pets from inhumane breeders, known as puppy mills.
Dennis Franks has denied allegations that he purchases puppies from puppy mills and has threatened to sue the city and animal advocates for allegedly harassing him.
The South Lake Tahoe City Council passed an ordinance that would ban the retail sale of cats and dogs in South Lake Tahoe within two years.
Reporter Adam Jensen contributed to this report.