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A Texas man has been sentenced to what authorities say is one of the longest ever prison terms for an animal cruelty conviction in the state.
Frank Javier Fonseca, 56, was caught on video repeatedly abusing his dog, a young Rottweiler named Buddy, on the front porch of their home near San Antonio’s Quintana neighborhood in February 2019.
The dog was only five months old at the time of the attack.
Fonseca was sentenced to 25 years on June 10, 2022. He pleaded no contest to the charges after a bid to have them dismissed failed.
According to Dallas, Texas-based ABC affiliate WFAA, the defendant was punishing Buddy for getting out of their yard, citing a statement from the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services agency.
In the recording, Fonseca can be seen punching the dog with a closed fist and hitting him with a piece of wood. The violence continues as the defendant kicks and chokes the defenseless creature.
The footage lasts nearly two-and-a-half minutes. Taken from across the street by an anonymous person, in the footage, the man identified as the defendant mercilessly beats Buddy, who cries out in pain.
That video is difficult to watch. It has been published by San Antonio Fox affiliate KABB.
The San Antonio Express-News reports that Fonseca was arrested in September 2021, citing court records. He later reportedly admitted to “disciplining” Buddy on the day in question over the yard egress.
A full court docket reviewed by Law&Crime shows the defendant was initially charged with three separate animal cruelty offenses in February 2019. He was indicted in September of that year. Fonseca was assigned habitual offender status, adding to the ultimate relatively long length of his prison sentence.
Bexar County Court records show several prior criminal charges and convictions including drug possession, various forms of theft, driving while intoxicated, driving with a suspended license, and retaliation.
According to San Antonio-based ABC affiliate KSAT, Fonseca’s sentencing was only recently publicized by city officials.
“No being should have to endure what Buddy was subjected to,” the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services said in a statement. “Thanks to a Good Samaritan, our Animal Cruelty investigators, our Animal Care Officers, and Texas Law, the person responsible for causing so much pain and suffering to an innocent pet has been brought to justice, serving a 25-year prison sentence. While we wish these cases never occur, we are happy to report that Buddy has recovered from his injuries and lives a happy and quiet life with his new adoptive family.”
“We hope this conviction will be an added deterrent to treating pets cruelly,” the statement continued. “This conviction would not have been possible without a caring and concerned resident recording and reporting the incident to 3-1-1. We urge anyone who witnesses cruel treatment to report it immediately to 3-1-1.”
The city itself issued a statement about the recent end to the case.
“Fonseca’s sentence, handed down in June in the 226th District Court, is one of the longest punishments for animal cruelty ever recorded in the state of Texas,” spokesperson Lisa Norwood wrote.
Fonseca was transferred from the local jail to a Lone Star State prison in late July.
[image via Bexar County Sheriff’s Office]
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