Navy veteran found guilty of abusing neighbors’ dogs

David Herbert

VISTA, Calif. — An Oceanside man was convicted Friday of animal cruelty charges for abusing his neighbors’ dogs, including gouging out the eye of a Siberian Husky.

A jury also found 37-year-old David C. Herbert, a former U.S. Navy sailor, guilty of residential burglary and four misdemeanor counts for slashing tires on vehicles belonging to the same neighbors who had their home broken into and their dog’s eye gouged.

Jurors found Herbert abused a 9-year-old Golden Retriever named Lala, but rejected an allegation that the defendant beat the dog with a baseball bat.

After the jury found the defendant guilty of 11 charges, Judge Carlos Armour ordered Herbert held without bail pending sentencing on Oct. 1.

Herbert was out of custody after posting $1 million bail and represented himself at trial.

Authorities said Herbert targeted a family living next door to him in north Oceanside, burning their two dogs with caustic chemicals and slashing the tires on the family’s vehicles in 2017.

The family moved out of their rental home after discovering that someone had broken in and gouged out an  eye of one of their dogs.

A month later, a new family with two dogs moved in, and within two days their Golden Retriever Lala disappeared.

Police found a small amount of blood in Herbert’s car and on a baseball bat he owned.

Herbert testified that Lala jumped in his car and he was about to take her to a shelter when she jumped out and ran off. The defendant denied hitting the dog with a bat. Lala was never found.