Supervisor Benoit’s Sky Valley "Dog Camp" Update for July 30
I am writing to update you about the case of Mary Bernadette Schwenn and her Sky Valley property. As mentioned in my last update on July 25, she was arrested that day on new felony animal cruelty charges. Also, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services impounded 10 dogs on her property.
The department continues to monitor this property every day to see if there are any more dogs that could be there.
On Monday afternoon, July 29, Ms. Schwenn was arraigned at the Larson Justice Center in Indio. She entered not guilty pleas. Bail is set at $55,000 and there will be a bail review hearing Aug. 1 and felony settlement conference Aug. 7. If convicted on all 31 counts of animal cruelty, the sentence could range from probation to 9 years in custody.
Finally, if Ms. Schwenn is released from custody for any reason, the judge issued an order that she may not own or be around any animals. I’m pleased to see that, as a condition of bail, that she will be restrained from endangering any more animals while the criminal cases are pending.
The efforts of many in the county - the Department of Animal Services, the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Department, Code Enforcement and County Counsel - brought this matter into the hands of the District Attorney and the courts. They have worked long hours and on weekends to pursue the fullest extent of criminal and civil enforcement.
I will continue to monitor this situation and support the District Attorney in their efforts to pursue this aggressively and safeguard the animals.
JOHN J. BENOIT
Chairman, Riverside County Board of Supervisors
Supervisor, Fourth District
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