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Man found guilty of animal cruelty, arson

Orlando Vela
Posted at 2:32 PM, Jul 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-01 17:32:21-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A man was found guilty by a Kern County jury on Thursday of animal cruelty, arson, and other felony charges including resisting arrest.

According to court documents, Orlando Vela was stopped by Bakersfield Police officers at about 7 a.m. on May 6, 2020, near Union and California avenues.

Vela was pushing a shopping cart with a dog he stabbed, lit on fire, and the cart was still on fire when officers tried to stop him, according to court documents. The dog didn't survive, according to court documents.

Vela became violent, yelling, and refused to listen to police commands and then pulled out a 12-inch dagger and used it an aggressive manner toward officers, according to court documents.

He then went into the road near occupied vehicles trying to avoid being arrested, according to court documents.

Vela resisted arrest several times including kicking while on the ground and trying to bite several officers, according to court documents. He was arrested after several minutes.

“Dogs will often lay down their lives for their owners, and for a man to return that loyalty by stabbing his dog to death and lighting it on fire displays a level of cruelty seldom seen, and which absolutely will not go unpunished," said Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer.

"Vela’s actions are despicable, and this conviction assures that his crimes will be met with a well-deserved prison commitment.”

Vela faces a sentence of up to 31 years in prison.

He has a criminal history that includes prior convictions for automobile theft, firearms and drug offenses, gang activity, and a 2017 "strike" conviction for assault with a deadly weapon.