David Christopher Herbert, 36, was ordered to answer six felony counts of animal abuse and cruelty at the end of a three-day preliminary hearing on August 25. The prosecutor said that three of the felonies he faces are considered “strike” offenses.
Evidence was presented alleging that since 2012, at least three families who lived in the home next to Herbert’s house in Oceanside had their car tires slashed, or their dogs were injured, and two dogs went missing.
San Diego Superior Court judge Robert Dahlquist also ordered the defendant to answer one felony burglary charge, because in one alleged incident last April, a neighbor came home to 3998 Carina Way and found one of her dogs inside the house had its eye gouged out. Both of her dogs, which were locked inside that day, were also splashed and injured by a caustic liquid, according to expert testimony.
Oceanside police sergeant John McKean testified that he reviewed homeowners’ association surveillance video from cameras that are in the pool area on the other side of Herbert’s home. The sergeant said the video showed Herbert backing out his blue Audi from his driveway on the same day that his neighbor’s dog, named LaLa, went missing. The officer stated he could see the face of that dog looking out the back window of the Audi. No one has seen LaLa since that day, May 30, 2017.
DNA from blood spots and dog slobber found inside Herbert’s Audi were matched to two dogs, one was LaLa, the other was a husky named Cocuyo that went missing for awhile and was then found on nearby Camp Pendleton. Herbert has been discharged from the Navy, and his home is about three miles from Camp Pendleton; he still has entry privileges to the Marine base, according to testimony.
Herbert is also facing four misdemeanor vandalism charges connected to multiple alleged tire-slashing incidents.
The defendant is currently at liberty after he reportedly put up $1 million bail in cash. This caused the judge to demand Herbert complete a “confidential financial declaration” because the defendant wants to continue his legal fight with the representation of an attorney from the public defender’s office. His current attorney, James Weintre, protested that if Herbert “ever had any money” he has now “depleted all his resources.” Judge Dahlquist insisted on a financial declaration from Herbert.
Public records show that Herbert has placed his home at 3995 Carino Way up for sale. Herbert purchased the home in 2012 for $376,000, and he is currently asking $549,900, according to online sources.
Prosecutor Teresa Pham asked the judge for a criminal protective order for three named victims, which the judge granted; this order requires Herbert to not contact those persons in any way. None of the named victims are living on that street now, it was stated in court.
Judge Dahlquist ordered Herbert to surrender to the court all his passports, which includes at least one U.S. passport and one Jamaican passport.
Herbert is next due in the Vista courthouse on September 20, 2017, to set a date for trial.