Nine puppies are up for adoption following a bust on a puppy smuggling and Fake Pet Rescue operation.

Fake Pet Rescue Results in Woman Arrested For Puppy Smuggling

The nine dogs were among 19 puppies in 42-year-old Megan Ann Hoechstetter’s possession when she was arrested an charged with 20 misdemeanor counts of keeping an animal without proper care and two misdemeanor counts of animal abuse by a caretaker.

According to Irvine police’s Kim Mohr, Hoechstetter set up a fake rescue service online to sell dogs she allegedly received from Mexico who had not received proper care as part of a “puppy flipping” operation. Between March 21, 2014 and March 1, 2017, Hoechstetter, operating under the business name of “Pawlosophy,” failed to provide appropriate care for more than 100 puppies, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Sick Puppies

Several families within Orange County reported that shortly after they had received puppies from one of Hoechstetter’s rescue services the puppies got sick. One of those families adopted a puppy named Bailey on January 1. According to officials the dog was ill with parvovirus and died just seven days after the family adopted it. The owners reported the incident to the Irvine Police Department which kicked off an investigation into the operation.

Officers tracked Hoechstetter down on January 11th. At the time she had six puppies for sale in the trunk of her car. Later that day police arrested Hoechstetter at a hotel in Cypress, California. At that time they found 13 puppies in her hotel room. Those 13 puppies were immediately taken to the city’s animal care center for “much needed care,” according to Mohr.
“So she was advertising these animals online and selling them for hundreds of dollars apiece. She would find the customers that way, and she would then take these animals and sell them to people in parking lots and public places,” said Mohr.

In the end, some families have had to spend as much as $7,500 in veterinary bills to treat the puppies that Hoechstetter allegedly received from Tijuana. Ultimately, 30 puppies either succumbed to illness or had to be euthanized, according to Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Malone.

Hoechstetter could face up to 12 years in jail if convicted.

Animal Service’s Guidelines For Rescuing and Purchasing Animals

In light of the case, the Police Department’s Animal Services Unit has set out some guidelines to follow when purchasing or rescuing an animal.

The guidelines reminded potential pet owners to: “be cautious of groups or organization that only communicate online, and that do not want to visit your home first for an inspection; request veterinary records of the animal and ensure they are up to date on vaccinations; not buy a puppy under 8 weeks old, or advertised as being ‘saved from another country’; and consider adopting from a local animal shelter.”

Daniel Perlman Handles Smuggling Charges

Many people do not realize how limited their rights are when entering the United States. Some smuggling, trafficking and illegal importation charges arise from involvement in real criminal enterprises. Others impact people who did not know they were breaking the law or had no idea of the extent of the searches U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents perform.

Regardless of the circumstances, it is crucial to seek experienced legal counsel to mitigate the impact of criminal charges related to smuggling arrests.

Our Los Angeles defense attorneys have substantial experience representing people coping with smuggling charges. The Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman intervenes on behalf of citizens and visitors arrested at LAX and other airports in California, people arrested at or near the Port of Los Angeles or the Port of Long Beach, and people charged with:

  • Crossing the Mexican border into California with drugs, weapons, large amounts of cash, jewelry or gemstones, or other goods that may have been legally obtained but were not properly declared
  • Illegal importation of plant or animal products, often without intent to commit a crime

Work with a Criminal Defense Attorney

Whatever the circumstances of your arrest, however, failing to promptly contact an attorney focused on defending your rights could be a life-altering mistake.

The less you say to federal agents or police in connection with a smuggling crime, the better. Many such officials are experts in getting what they need for a conviction while reassuring you that they will ultimately let you go if you talk. At your first opportunity, contact us at 213-514-8324, at 213-514-8324 or by e-mail and get proven border arrest and smuggling defense lawyer Daniel R. Perlman involved in your case.

Daniel R. Perlman, Esq.
Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman