VISTA (CNS) - An Oceanside man convicted of abusing his neighbors' dogs, including gouging out the eye of a Siberian Husky, was sentenced to nearly 10 years in custody Friday.
Jurors last summer found 37-year-old David C. Herbert guilty of six counts of animal cruelty, one count of burglary and four misdemeanor counts of vandalism for harming two separate families' dogs, one of which remains missing.
Herbert was handed an 8-year, 8-month prison term in a Vista courtroom Friday morning, to be served along with a one-year jail term on the misdemeanor counts.
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Authorities said Herbert targeted a family living next door to him in north Oceanside, burning their two huskies, Cocayo and Estrella, with caustic chemicals and repeatedly slashing the tires on the family's vehicles in 2017.
The family moved out of their rental home after discovering that someone had broken in and gouged Estrella's eye out.
About one month later, a new family with two dogs moved in, and within two days their 9-year-old Golden Retriever Lala disappeared. The dog has never been found and is presumed dead.
Police found a small amount of blood in Herbert's car and on a baseball bat he owned.
Herbert, who represented himself at trial, testified that Lala jumped in his car and he was about to take her to a shelter when she jumped out and ran off.