MURRIETA: Animal-cruelty suspect charged with elder abuse

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A Murrieta area woman is charged with leaving her ailing mother outside for days, court records show

Janice Deutsch is told to get back as Riverside Animal Control officers take away one of her horses from her home off of Hitt Lane in La Cresta on Sept. 22, 2011. Animal control officers and a group of volunteers seized more than a dozen horses, most of them undernourished, from a property in the rural La Cresta area

A woman accused a year ago of animal cruelty after more than a dozen skinny horses were seized from her 5-acre property west of Murrieta has now been charged with mistreating her elderly mother, court records show.

Janice Susan Deutsch, 47, was charged Oct. 3 with causing great bodily injury on an elderly person, a felony, court records show. She was arrested Oct. 3 and released the next day on $250,000 bond, jail records show. Deutsch is scheduled for arraignment Nov. 29.

Efforts to reach Deutsch on Monday were unsuccessful.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department began investigating Deutsch after she brought her 86-year-old mother, covered in urine and feces, to a hospital in Mission Viejo on Sept. 30, court documents stated. Deutsch’s mother had bleeding bedsores and her legs were locked in a bent position, according to an investigator’s written statement in support of an arrest warrant filed in Riverside County court. She also was dehydrated, sunburned and had feces under her fingernails, court records stated.

Deutsch, who identified herself as her mother’s caregiver, told the investigator her mother became ill Sept. 22 and laid down on a vinyl chaise lounge on the patio of their home on Hitt Road. The house sits on several acres in the rural La Cresta area. Deutsch told the investigator her mother had refused to move for more than a week, soiling herself.

Deutsch said her mother spent hours in the sun on days when temperatures exceeded 100 degrees, the investigator wrote. During that period, Deutsch told the investigator, she hosed her mother down and fed her a small amount of food. Deutsch said her mother had refused medical care and would not cooperate with efforts to help her.

Deutsch told the investigator she didn’t have the strength to move the chaise but later said the gardener had helped move her mother, court records say.

Deutsch said she didn’t call 911 for help because she did not want her mother to be taken to any of the local hospitals, which were not up to her standards, the investigator wrote. On Sept. 30, she enlisted a friend to help drive her mother to Mission Viejo.

Court records indicated Deutsch’s mother was due to be released from the hospital Oct. 3, but it’s unclear where she is living now.

John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney’s office, said the mother is not living with Deutsch.

When animal control officials searched Deutsch’s property Sept. 22, 2011, a representative from Adult Protective Services also came to inspect her house and check on the condition of her elderly mother, Deutsch said at the time.

Deutsch said then she was bullied by authorities and was indignant over the suggestion that her mother and her horses were not receiving proper care.

Animal control officials said authorities were notified in late 2010 that Deutsch’s horses were being neglected and that she failed for months to heed their warnings that she needed to feed them more. When the horses were seized last year, several had become extremely emaciated, authorities said. Animal control officials said they had found no evidence of illness. They said they found poorly maintained stalls, empty water barrels and inadequate hoof care.

Deutsch initially was charged with felony animal cruelty but the charge was later reduced to a misdemeanor.

She has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial in that case, court records show.

Hall said the horses are still in the custody of animal control.

If convicted, Deutsch faces up to nine years in custody in the elder abuse case and one year in the animal cruelty case, Hall said.

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IMPACT-Humanitarian Trailer from Saving America’s Horses

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The launch of this trailer sends a staggering wake up call to all policy makers. This award-winning film explores the human-animal bond of horse and man through an illuminating humanitarian lens.

‘Saving America’s Horses’ helps spotlight what is becoming an urgent global humanitarian crisis — the pollution of fresh water. The RBC Blue Water Project is our commitment to protecting the lifeblood of this planet that we all need to share. Join the wave, and help us create a blue water future.” – Jeff Boyd, Regional President, Ontario North and East, RBC Royal Bank.

“Saving America’s Horses” is an educational project under Wild for Life Foundation, a 501 c3 nonprofit charity with a mission to save, protect and preserve equines.Learn more at

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