A 27-year-old Downey man who reportedly sold sick puppies to innocent families was forced to pay $203,000 in compensation to 63 victims and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said Gustavo Gonzalez, 27, was also charged to a year on probation and 87 days in jail, with credit waived for nearly two years he has already spent in custody.

He was initially charged with 52 counts, including 28 animal cruelty felony counts and one first-degree residential burglary and grand theft felony count.

Gonzalez, per the district attorney's office, sold sick puppies to families across Southern California from February 2018 to April 2019. He was apprehended in June 2019 and is forbidden from owning any animals for the next 10 years.

He reportedly smuggled Mexican puppies suffering from multiple diseases such as parvovirus, canine distemper, giardia, coccidia and roundworms. It is not known precisely what type of dogs Gonzalez allegedly offered.

A criminal complaint and a 2019 motion filed by prosecutors claimed Gonzalez advertised puppies online as healthy animals. The puppies are named Coco, Joker, Chip, Dale, Chance and Lucky. After the buyers brought them home, most of the puppies died, prosecutors said.

According to the DA's office, Gonzalez pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of selling live animals on the street. Authorities also ordered him to undergo one year of animal cruelty counseling and is barred from owning or being around animals for the next 10 years.

Gonzalez has been at the forefront of a FOX 11 probe for almost two years previous to his detention. The Downey guy had marketed sick and dying dogs unlawfully to unsuspecting families who were reacting to his Craigslist listings.

L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement that trying to sell sick puppies to unsuspecting people is just plain wrong. "That's why it's so important to use established animal shelters or pet adoption agencies so that we avoid becoming victims and also help end the market for unscrupulous illegal dog breeders." 

rottweiler-1785760_1920 Rottweiler Puppy Dogs Image by kim_hester from Pixabay