PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — An actor who played Leatherface in the latest installment of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was arrested in Santa Monica along with his girlfriend for allegedly hoarding 25 Pomeranians in a mobile home in Ocean Park.
Police said Wednesday that Andrew Bryniarski, 43, who has appeared in several television shows and movies, including “Any Given Sunday” and “The Program,” was arrested Saturday along with Jennifer Abram, 34, on suspicion of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor.
The two were cited and released on $5,000 bail, said SMPD spokesman Sgt. Richard Lewis.
Police responded to a mobile home parked on the 2300 block of Third Street around 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 8 after receiving tips from at least two different residents who said they could hear the sound of multiple dogs crying coming from inside the vehicle.
When officers arrived, they found a door to the mobile home ajar and could see “what they thought were 15 dogs in multiple kennels with no food or water,” Lewis said.
“There was a heavy smell of urine and a lot of trash inside,” he added.
Before they could enter the mobile home, Bryniarski and Abram arrived and were questioned by police. The couple said it was using the mobile home to house the dogs so that they could be rescued.
Officers at the scene were concerned for the animals’ welfare and placed the couple under arrest. The dogs were taken to the Santa Monica Animal Shelter where they were being cared for as of Wednesday afternoon.
The incident is still under investigation and it is not clear if charges will be filed by the City Attorney’s Office, which prosecutes misdemeanors, Lewis said. Investigators will be studying the dogs’ living conditions and their health, including their weight and cleanliness.
“It’s sad, but as long as a dog can sit, stand up and turn around and then sit again [in a cage], that’s not considered animal cruelty,” Lewis said. “Animal activists will say that is ridiculous. But if you can put five dogs in one cage and they can all do that, there is no violation of the law.”
Bryniarski told celebrity news outlet TMZ that he was trying to place the dogs with loving families.
“Nobody cares for my dogs better than I do, or finds them better homes,” he said to TMZ. “These are lies … and only the only thing that smells like piss … is the story from the Santa Monica Police Department.”
He went on to say that he and his girlfriend bought the mobile home just a week ago to find “forever homes” for the Pomeranians. He also said the arrest was made because City Hall does not want RVs posted up in the nice part of town and is doing what it can to drive them out.
Lewis said officers responded because of complaints from residents. He added that investigators checked on Bryniarski’s claims that he was using various web sites to find homes for the dogs, but could not find proof of that.