The trial of an Angels Camp woman accused of animal cruelty was postponed on Friday due to her defense lawyer’s obligation to another trial outside of the county.
The trial of Vonna Faye Hughes, owner of the now-closed Pet Bath House, a dog-grooming and boarding house on Main Street in Angels Camp, was scheduled to begin on Wednesday and last about a week.
A trial setting conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Calaveras County Superior Court.
Hughes is charged with three counts of felony animal cruelty, two counts of felony grand theft, and two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty related to her treatment of Casper, Coco and Cici, three pitbulls boarded at her facility by a Butte Fire survivor in late June 2017.
Hughes has denied the charges against her.
Her attorney, Ken Foley of San Andreas, could not be reached for comment. A representative of his law office said he would be representing a defendant in an Amador County murder trial at the same time, which prompted a motion for the continuance.
Representatives at the Calaveras County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the postponement, saying the case was still ongoing.
Butte Fire survivor Steven Mendoza, owner of the three pitbulls, said he was “irritated” by the postponement.
“I want everything to happen. I just want to go on with my life. I want everything done and taken care of. I just want to move on. I want closure,” he said.
Mendoza said he still thinks about Cici, who was found dead inside a double-bagged garbage bag outside of a spillway debris gate at the Utica Power Authority on Crestview Drive in Murphys.
“I miss her,” Mendoza said.
Casper and Coco were “somewhere safe” for the time being until Mendoza receives his Butte Fire settlement and they return to his home.
“They will be with me,” he said. “That’s all I want to say.”
Mendoza was reunited with Casper and Coco at Calaveras County Animal Services in San Andreas after they were found near Pennsylvania Gulch Road in Murphys.
Hughes’ felony animal cruelty charges pertain to her depriving all three dogs of “necessary sustenance and shelter” while they were in her care in late June to early July in 2017.
The three dogs disappeared from the Pet Bath House in early July, and Casper and Coco were located by Calaveras County Animal Services in Murphys by the end of that month. A few days later, Cici’s body was discovered in the trash bag in Murphys.
Hughes was arrested on July 8, 2017.
Hughes was charged with grand theft after she billed Mendoza $1,000 and $3,800, respectively, for two incidents related to his dogs allegedly attacking other dogs while in her care.
Hughes is accused of charging Mendoza $1,000 for a $750 bill for the treatment of Fred, a dog she said was attacked by Mendoza’s dogs, and for charging Mendoza $3,800 for a $2,800 bill for the treatment of Sam, another dog allegedly attacked by Mendoza’s dogs.
Hughes’ charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty were related to an attempt to heal a gash Fred sustained in the fight with super glue, and for failing to provide appropriate care for Sam.