Palmdale School District administrator Pauline Ruth Winbush and her boyfriend Kevin Ray Williams, have been charged with four felony counts of dog fighting, 17 felony counts of cruelty to an animal and one felony count of child abuse, according to Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Lyle Riggs.
Additionally, the complaint includes seven Los Angeles County code violations, including unsanitary conditions and failing to license and vaccinate the dogs.
Winbush was formerly Interim Superintendent of Schools and currently is employed as Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources for Palmdale School District, which is the fourth-largest elementary school district in California, serving 22,000, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the prosecutor, Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control Officers discovered a horse belonging to Winfush and Williams roaming the streets on Oct. 29. The condition of the animal subsequently led to a search of the couple’s Antelope Acres home on November 26, according to Deputy DA Riggs.
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At that time 19 Pit Bulls were discovered in the house—some with wounds and scars consistent with being used in dog fighting. The dogs were allegedly being kept in crates filled with feces and urine inside the house where Winbush, Williams and a minor child lived, the prosecutor added.
The dogs were recovered from the home but were in such poor condition that they had to be euthanized, Riggs said.
The couple surrendered to Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputies on December 29, and Winbush and Williams were both arrested at approximately 3 p.m., on a warrant issued on December 24, reports the AVTimes.
Winbush plead not guilty and has been ordered to return to court on Jan. 12 for a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence against her for the case to be tried in court. The judge set her bail at $250,000, according to the Los Angeles Times. The prosecution recommended $440,000 bail for Williams, who was scheduled for arraignment the following afternoon.
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In a statement issued Tuesday, Palmdale Superintendent Raul Maldonado announced that Ms. Winbush had been placed on paid administrative leave on December 1, the first business day after the discovery at her home.
“We are deeply troubled by the November 26, 2014 raid on Ms. Winbush’s home by local law enforcement officials and her subsequent arrest and arraignment,” Maldonado said. He said that the District was also conducting an investigation of the circumstances that gave rise to the actions by local law enforcement and “closely monitoring the criminal proceedings against Ms. Winbush.”
If convicted of all charges, Winbush, 52, and Williams, 50, face a possible maximum sentence of 13 years each in state prison, according to the AV Times.