The local man accused of breaking into the Hollister Animal Shelter had his misdemeanor charges dropped and settled with a fine for having a dog running at large, according to court records.
The district attorney’s office originally charged Cecil Chalfant, 51, on suspicion of misdemeanor burglary and trespassing in connection with what had been deemed a break-in at the Hollister Animal Shelter in May.
At a court hearing Tuesday, the deputy district attorney agreed to drop those misdemeanor charges, and Chalfant accepted a $157 fine for the incident for a municipal code violation of allowing a dog to run at large, according to records. Chalfant is represented by attorney Greg LaForge.
A misdemeanor burglary conviction could have resulted in up to one year in county jail, with additional time for trespassing. The charges were dropped on a motion by the DA’s office.
Hollister police in a May statement noted how officers had accused Chalfant of burglary and breaking into the drop-off kennel at the shelter after being identified on surveillance.
Police went on to note:
On May 5, a concerned citizen located a dog running loose in Hollister. The citizen had concern for the dog’s safety and was not able to determine who owned the dog. She took the dog to the Hollister Police Animal Care and Services Shelter where there is an overnight/drop off kennel available for people to drop off lost dogs. The kennel will lock after the door is closed.
The concerned citizen, meanwhile, had posted on a social media site a picture of the dog and if anyone was looking for their dog, it had been taken to the shelter. Later that same day, video surveillance at the Animal Shelter captured a man and a woman arriving and leaving soon after. The same man later returned and used tools to break into the kennel and removed the dog.
Police were notified and started an investigation. Police were able to identify the man as Chalfant, who advised he was the owner of the dog. Chalfant advised he noticed the posting on social media and responded to the shelter and found his dog locked in the kennel.