HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A puppy farm manager accused of 153 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty changed his plea to no contest today.
David Becker, 55, had maintained his innocence saying he was the fall guy for the charges, however now he has changed his mind. After pleading no contest Judge Glenn Kim found him guilty on all counts.
In February 2010 the Hawaiian Humane Society seized 153 dogs from a farm in Waimanalo because of inhumane conditions. Becker was charged with animal cruelty.
Becker has said in the past he was simply the employee doing what he could with the limited funding the farm owners gave him. He vowed to fight the charges, however he is also on his fourth defense attorney and by the time the trial concluded he could have spent more time in prison than he would have received if convicted.
Deputy Prosecutor Jan Futa urged the judge to accept only a not guilty plea considering the severity of the case. However the judge accepted the no contest plea. Becker will be sentenced December 19.
"It really relieves the burden on the state and all the witnesses involved. As you know this is a really big case so we won't have to go to trial now," said Keoni Vaughn, Hawaiian Humane Society. "I think it was a good decision not wasting resources let's just hope the courts recognize the severity of the event."
Becker faces a year in prison and $2,000 fine for each of the 153 counts. He has already spent the past six months in prison. Sources say he may get credit for time served and avoid any more jail time.