Animal cruelty cases prosecuted

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By Lee Einer

The district attorney’s office has brought charges in two local cases of alleged animal cruelty.

Tracy Ratzlaff, a certified nurse anaesthetist living in Sapello, has been charged with fourth-degree felony cruelty to animals in connection with the shooting of his neighbor’s dog. The neighbor, Cathy Swedlund, said she found her dog dead near her barn on Feb 17, 2008. The next day, when she went to bury the dog, she found the entrance wound of a bullet.

A while later, Swedlund said, Ratzlaff’s wife, Elizabeth, called her and told her that her husband, Tracy, had shot a dog that was eating their chickens.

According to the incident report, Tracy Ratzlaff admitted shooting Swedlund’s dog with a .308-caliber rifle and that Swedlund’s dog was more than 100 yards from the coop when he did so. Ratzlaff told the investigator that there had been three dogs that had been killing his chickens. Ratzlaff said he assumed Swedlund’s dog was one of them, but he wasn’t sure, according to reports.

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The other case is of a Mora man who allegedly mutilated his own dog. Orlando Roybal, 60, of Mora, N.M., was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty for knowingly castrating his dog in early August 2006 without benefit of either anaesthetic or the knowledge of how to perform the procedure.

A third incident of apparent animal cruelty, which took place in South San Ysidro earlier this year, involved a pit bull that was left chained without food or water until it died. District Attorney Richard Flores said investigation of this case is ongoing,