Man accused of abuse after 117 animals seized from San Diego County pet stores

SAN DIEGO — El Cajon resident Johnson Le was arrested today after 130 animals were seized in March from two pet stores in San Diego and Le’s private residence in El Cajon.

Le is being charged with four felony counts of 597 (b) P.C. animal abuse, 10 misdemeanor counts of 597 (b) P.C. animal abuse and more than a dozen violations of the California Health and Safety Code. He is currently being held on $50,000 bail.

The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement served the search warrants on March 27 after a lengthy investigation related to the health and safety of the animals in Le’s care.

In total, 117 animals were seized from the various locations, including 57 puppies, rabbits, birds, a 35 pound turtle and a 7-foot python snake. All of the animals must remain in the Humane Society’s care until further court stipulation.

Le’s trial is scheduled for August.

“We hope the animals will be signed over to us fairly quickly so that they can be available for adoption as soon as possible,” said Randall Lawrence, director of Humane Law Enforcement at the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. “I consider this to be a tremendous success that we’re able to protect these animals, many of which had diseases and health conditions and were housed in subpar conditions.”

“Typically, animals that come from conditions like these need a lot of supportive medical and behavioral care,” said Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society. “These animals have received exemplary care from our medical and behavioral staff, and will continue to receive that high level of care until they are adopted. We are 100 percent committed to them.”

Search warrants were served by the San Diego Humane Society at the following pet stores:

– Puppy Star, 6167 Balboa Ave., in Clairemont

– Pet Place, 6512 El Cajon Blvd. in Rolando

– Nadine’s Puppies, 1021 South Coast Highway in Oceanside

To date, the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA has housed and cared for the animals involved in this case, which includes providing all veterinary medical care, food, special enclosures for some animals, and dedicating additional kennel space and extra staffing for the 117 animals. If you would like to make a contribution to support the animals involved in this investigation, donations may be made by mail or on the San Diego Humane Society’s website at

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