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Man Charged in Orcutt Dog Tossing Case Appears in Court

The adult charged in connection with throwing a dead dog at a group of teachers rallying in Orcutt pleaded not guilty in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria on Friday.

Ryan Durazo, 20, made his first court appearance for the case where he faces charges related to the case of the dead poodle named Sam.

The dog was thrown from a vehicle into a group of teachers rallying at the corner of Clark Avenue and Bradley Road on March 18.

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 elderly dog had disappeared from his yard two days before his carcass was tossed from the truck.

A 17-year-old boy faces similar charges to Durazo, but that case is being handled in Santa Maria Juvenile Court.

In seeking more time, Durazo’s attorney said Friday he has waiting to get copies of several video and audio recordings from the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office. 

Deputy District Attorney Catherine Pringle said she had not seen the request but will process it and provide the discovery items to the defense attorney.

The judge set the next hearing for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 23 in Department 6. 

Adults charged with misdemeanors don’t have to show up in court, but Judge James Iwasko ordered Durazo to attend Friday’s hearing.

Fisher sought again to allow his client to miss the next hearing and be represented by his attorney only, but Iwasko refused, noting the argument was made previously and he decided it was not appropriate for Durazo to be absent.

Sam the poodle’s family, the Schwarks, were in court for the hearing along with members of Davey’s Voice on Friday morning.

After the brief hearing ,Sophia Schwark said it was it “kind of tough” seeing the adult defendant for the first time.

“I felt like he doesn’t have a care,” she said, wondering why he doesn’t admit to his alleged role in the incident.

“Take responsibility. As I will always say, take responsibility of your actions. I’ve always been brought up that way,” she added. “When you do something wrong, own up to it because we’re going to find out anyways.”

Months after the incident, the family still awaits answers to many questions surrounding the incident, she said, adding she was happy the judge ordered Durazo to show up for the next hearing.

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.

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