Oct. 15—A Dallas man driving with five sheep in the trunk of his car pleaded guilty this week to a charge of cruelty to animals.
Rito Ramirez Vasquez, 52, was indicted in April by a Hunt County grand jury on one count of cruelty to livestock animals-physical abuse. He had previously pleaded not guilty.
But Vasquez changed his plea to guilty during a Wednesday morning hearing in the 196th District Court.
Judge Andrew Bench accepted the plea and placed Vasquez under three years of deferred adjudication probation, ordered him to complete 100 hours of community service and fined him $500.
The Caddo Mills Police Department took Vasquez into custody on July 17, 2021. Vasquez, 51, was booked into the Hunt County Detention Center and later released on $6,500 bond.
According to a report, police officers from Caddo Mills along with officers from the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office and personnel from SPCA of Texas seized and took custody of four live and one dead sheep during a traffic stop on FM 36. Vasquez was transporting the animals, which were hog-tied and confined in the trunk of a Honda at temperatures exceeding 100 degrees.
“We will not tolerate animal cruelty in the city of Caddo Mills and will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” Police Chief Kimbre Collier said at the time. “I want to give a special thank you to the SPCA of Texas and the Hunt County Sheriff’s Department for their assistance.”
The cruelty to livestock animals charge is a state jail felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of up to two years in a state jail.