Animal cruelty, bribery charges reported
Visalia, CA (US) Incident Date: Thursday, May 31, 2007 County: Tulare.
Charges: Felony CTA
» Michael James Sargeant
» William Ray Harmon
» Ron C. Cookson
Case Updates: 5 update(s) available
A Bakersfield man faces felony charges in a case that involves animal
cruelty and bribery. Michael James Sargeant, a businessman who owns
Sargeant’s Wholesale Biological, is set to appear before a judge in about
three weeks. He buys dead cats from animal shelters and sells them for
veterinary research .
Sargeant, William Harmon, and Ronn Cookson are out on bail after an arrest
in this case following accusations of animal cruelty and bribery at the
Tulare County Animal Shelter. Sargeant avoided questions on June 19, 2007 as
17 News attempted to get his comments.
According to court documents, workers at the Tulare shelter said animals
were euthanized the same day they were taken to the shelter. The Kern County
Animal Control said that is illegal. Division Chief Denise Haynes said the
Kern County shelter used to contract with Sargeant. “Kern County had a
contract with Mr. Sargeant, and at that time, the price was $2.50,” per dead
cat, she said. “The cats were held the required amount of time, we would
euthanize them and Mr. Sargeant would pick them up.”
In Tulare, the county contracted with Sargeant’s Wholesale Biological to
sell cat carcasses for research and education from January to June of 2002.
The criminal case alleges Tulare employees were ordered not to adopt out any
pregnant, unsterilized or medium-sized dogs. 17 News obtained a written
statement from Sargeant stating he “absolutely denies bribery of any type. I
had a good working relationship with Tulare County Animal Control. If there
was wrong doing of any kind, it was done by my ex-wife who managed the
paperwork and financial end the business."