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A house of horror

Photo courtesy of Madera Police Department Police are looking for Ernesto Aguayo, 45, of Madera on suspicion of felony animal cruelty. A $500 reward is being offered in the event of a conviction in the case. Call 675-4220 with any information on his whereabouts.


Dead animals, neglected children, filth and drugs horrify police

A nondescript house in the 500 block of Lilly Street revealed a horrific scene Tuesday night, after Madera police officers were called in to assist Child Protective Services with a child welfare check. Officers said they were revolted by what they found inside.

The home is across the street from the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School School and was reportedly filthy, may have even been without water for a time.

Sgt. Mark Trukki said the living conditions were so appalling, the extent of the squalor shook even veteran officers. Two young children were immediately placed into protective custody with CPS and removed, pending further investigation.

Officers also found a dog barely alive, but with gruesome open wounds, possibly resulting from advanced mange, a debilitating and fatal skin disease, if left untreated.

“An emaciated German Shepherd dog was found in the garage alive, lying in a pile of clothes but unable to stand and so covered with open, bleeding wounds the officers decided to end it’s suffering immediately,” Trukki said.

Another German Shepherd, which appeared to have been healthy and well nourished, was found dead and half buried in a shallow grave in the back yard. Both dogs were sent to a veterinarian for a necropsy to determine their conditions and cause of death, Trukki said.

A $500 reward is being offered by Friends of the Madera Animal Shelter for information leading to an arrest and a conviction in this or any felony animal neglect or cruelty case.

“A warrant for the dog’s owner, Ernesto Aguayo, 45, of Madera has been obtained.” Trukki said. “He is being investigated on suspicion of felony animal neglect and animal cruelty among possible other charges. We are attempting to determine the cause of death in the other dog in the backyard. Aguayo has fled the residence, but we believe he may be on foot and still in Madera. Anyone with information on this situation or his whereabouts is asked to call Madera Police at 675-4220.”

Ernesto is the uncle of the children in the home and is not currently under investigation for child neglect or abuse, he said.

“It’s an awful situation for the family and the children, and it may have been on the decline for a while. The grandfather is elderly and may have been the primary caregiver but is now not doing well. The grandmother is in a convalescent home. We found lice, meth pipes, marijuana. We are also looking for the two other adults that lived in the home. Adult Protective Services is now reviewing the situation of the grandfather,” Trukki said.

Trukki said police encourage everyone to look out for their neighbors and community. “If you as a neighbor or as a community member see a situation like this ... with unhealthy or unsafe conditions, child neglect or abuse, or neglect or abuse of animals please definitely call authorities.” he said.

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