Published: 1:00 pm, Wed. Dec. 9th, 2015Updated: 3:51 pm
A former employee at a New Mexico dairy has been sentenced to 364 days behind bars after pleading no contest to animal cruelty.
Prosecutors say Jose Luis Zuniga-Lira, 42, of Artesia, was one of four workers charged in April after undercover video showed them whipping cows with chains and wire cables and kicking and punching the animals at Winchester Dairy in Roswell.
Cases are pending for three other employees, who are facing a total of seven counts of animal cruelty. They include Jesus Espinoza, 47, of Artesia, Stephen Troublefield, 26, of Artesia, and Cesar Morales -Iiguez, 21, of Roswell.
Zuniga-Lira entered his plea last Friday in Chaves County District Court.
The dairy ceased operations in September 2014 after an undercover investigation by Los Angeles-based Mercy For Animals. Winchester Dairy subsequently halted milking operations, stopped shipments to all vendors and dispersed thousands of cows to other dairies with strong track records in animal welfare.