Pixel Tracker

Friday, January 18 , 2019, 8:16 am | Fair 54º


Judge Orders Man Charged In Dog-Tossing Case to Appear in Court for Next Hearing

The case against a man charged in connection with a dead dog tossed at a group of teachers rallying in Orcutt was continued to July 29, when a judge on Friday ordered the defendant to show up for the hearing. 

Ryan Durazo, 20, of Orcutt and a 17-year-old minor were charged in connection with the March 18 incident.

Durazo faces misdemeanor charges alleging petty theft of lost property and assault, in addition to a violation of a Food and Agriculture Code section prohibiting unlawful transportation or disposal of a dead animal.

The case in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria stems from the disappearance of Sam, an elderly blind poodle belonging to the Schwark family in Orcutt. 

Two days after Sam went missing from the yard, the dead dog’s body was tossed from a truck passing a teachers’ rally on the corner of Clark Avenue and Bradley Road. No one was injured.

The dog’s body had rigor mortis.

The defendant, represented this time by San Luis Obispo-based attorney Patrick Fisher, did not appear in court Friday. Another attorney appeared on behalf of Durazo at the first hearing.

People charged with some misdemeanor crimes are not required to be in the courtroom for their arraignment hearings.

At the next hearing, the defense attorney said, the case will either be resolved or sent to another department for further proceedings.

Deputy District Attorney Catherine Pringle asked Judge James Iwasko to order Durazo to appear in court for the next hearing, noting the dog’s family had attended proceedings.

Several animal-welfare supporters, including from Davey’s Voice and Dog Adoption & Welfare Group, also showed up to support Sam’s family. 

But the defense attorney objected to Durazo being required to show up, citing the emotional nature of the case and concerns about conflict.

“That’s why we have bailiffs,” Iwaskso said.

The minor charged in connection with the case is being handle in Santa Maria Juvenile Court, where proceedings are confidential.

Outside the court, Fisher said his client is not accused of harming an animal.

“There’s things that ethically I can’t reveal. It certainly would probably help a lot of people through this process to know about my client,” Fisher said. “He’s a dog lover. Worst thing that happened in his life was losing his own dog.”

Friday’s continued arraignment marked the second in the case. 

Shirley Jansen, founder of Santa Barbara-based DAWG, was among those on hand for Friday’s hearing.

“We’re really hopeful that this little family can see some peace finally by knowing that someone who was a member of their family is getting a little justice,” Jansen said. “And maybe that the community understands that this is not a community that tolerates animal abuse and finds it amusing to a take a beloved pet and destroy it.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.