Escondido city news: Seeking new councilperson, sex crimes and bad puppies

This was the scene in January 2019 as San Marcos City Council applicants wait outside council chambers at a Civic Center conference room before being called to appear before council. Escondido is using the same process to fill the unexpired term of John Masson who died last month after a long battle with cancer./Dweisman

Desperately seeking new Escondido city council member

The City of Escondido is accepting applications for a potential appointment to the Escondido City Council to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Council Member John Masson, effective March 10, 2020.

City Council members decided to appoint during a strange, virtual night meeting Wednesday, March 25 with most of the members and city staff teleconferencing in from their offices for social-distancing reasons.

The term of the Council seat is from the date of appointment to the next general municipal election on November 3, 2020.

Candidates must be 18 years of age, reside within the limits of Escondido City Council District 2, and be registered to vote in the City at the time the application is accepted. Council members must comply with all provisions of California law regarding service on a City Council of a general law city.

Each council applicant will be briefly interviewed by the council during a special meeting scheduled for April 22, according to The San Diego Union Tribune. The council could make a decision at that time or wait until its May 6 meeting. This will be the first time a council vacancy has occurred in the city since district-specific elections began in 2014.

Previous openings attracted dozens of applicants; however, that was for seats that had been voted on citywide. Limiting applications to those who live only in District 2 will likely reduce that number significantly

Candidates must submit an application, resume and proof of current voter registration status, as well as respond to The Escondido City Council will interview candidates at their April 22, 2020 Special City Council meeting. The Council may take action at that time or within the 60-day period thereafter.

Submittals are due by April 15, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. to the City Clerk’s Office by completing the online form at the following link: or by emailing the completed application packet to, or by mailing the completed application packet to 201 N. Broadway, Escondido 92025.

People Behaving Badly: Sex Crimes Division

Dr. Leng Thai Ky/EPD

Dr. Leng Thai Ky was arrested on Monday, March 30, for allegedly sexually assaulting an unconscious patient. Police believe there could be other victims who have not come forward yet.

According to the Escondido Police Department, a female victim filed a report on Saturday, alleging that 40-year-old anaesthesiologist Dr. Leng Thai Ky sexually assaulted her. Detective investigated and determined they had probable cause to arrest Ky on Monday.

Ky has been practicing medicine for over 8 years. He is associated with several medical facilities in the San Diego area, including Sharp Community Medical Group, Palomar Hospital, Graybill Medical Group, North County Pain Institute, and the Desert Pain Clinic in Rancho Mirage.

Police reports did not specify where the alleged sexual assault was believed to have taken place.

Leng Thai Ky was booked into the Vista Detention Facility for the following charges:

287(i) PC – Oral Copulation – Oral copulation with a drugged victim

287(f) PC – Oral Copulation – Oral copulation with an unconscious victim

289(D) PC – Sexual penetration with an unconscious victim

289(E) PC – Sexual penetration, victim unable to resist due to anesthetic substance

243.4(A) PC – Sexual Battery

245(A)(4) PC – Assault with a Deadly Weapon

222 PC – Giving drugs to Aid in a felony

Ky has been a doctor for over eight years.  Ky has associations with Palomar Hospital, North County Pain Institute, Sharp Community Medical Group, Graybill Medical Group, and the Desert Pain Clinic in Rancho Mirage.

Police believe there are additional, unidentified victims.  Anyone with additional information or believes they are a victim is asked to call Det. Therese Ruiz at 760-839-4790.

Bad puppy, bad bad bad Escondido puppy mill puppies (alleged)

David Salinas and his Washington City, Utah Puppy Store were the subject of a demonstration by animal rights activists in June 2017

David Salinas is under the legal gun again being sued in Federal Court for allegedly running puppy mills out of Escondido’s Broadway Puppies and Santee’s Pups & Pets.

A resident of Utah, Salinas squares off against Maryland-based nonprofit PetConnect Rescue Inc. Plaintiffs’ attorneys say the Salinas-owned stores obtain their puppies through the similarly named Missouri-based Pet Connect Rescue Inc., which allegedly “launders” dogs from illegal puppy mills, “falsely labeling them as ‘rescues.'”

It’s not the first time the controversial Salinas has ben hauled into an area court due to his puppy machinations.

In prior lawsuits, customers alleged they purchased what they were told were rescue puppies from Salinas-owned stores, only to have purchased a dog that was actually from a puppy mill, according to City News Service. The dogs were often were riddled with illnesses — sometimes leading to death — due to being bred in poor conditions, according to prior litigation.

A preliminary injunction was previously obtained by animal-rights organizations against National City Puppy, also owned by Salinas, which was ordered to shutter earlier this year in light of similar allegations.

Not only that, but you knew the story would extend to coronavirus-related litigation.

An evidentiary hearing had been set for this Friday in San Diego state court regarding preliminary injunctions against Broadway Puppies and Pups & Pets, but that hearing has been indefinitely postponed due to the San Diego Superior Court’s coronavirus-related shutdown.

And in the latest complaint, the plaintiffs allege the stores have remained open for business during the coronavirus pandemic despite a statewide “stay at home” order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom to all but essential services.

While pet stores are exempt from closure due to Newsom’s Thursday order, the lawsuit alleges the stores’ continued operation “is putting the public at risk as well as continuing to defraud consumers into believing they are supporting ‘rescues’ during this difficult time by buying a puppy.”

The complaint alleges that the stores’ operation during the pandemic puts the public at increased risk of the spread of multi-drug-resistant Campylobacter infections, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says has been linked to puppies purchased from pet stores.

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