Water buffalo

Pima County Sheriff's Department forensic technician Meagen Suedkamp and Brandy Van Aulen, a trainer with For the Love of the Hoof, visit with a water buffalo during an animal neglect investigation July 30.

A Pima County woman who dreamed of opening an exotic petting zoo pleaded guilty Friday to cruelty to animals and various other counts in Pima County Justice Court.

Julius Robert Oppenheimer, who is also known as Alex Warnock, was placed on one year of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay a $300 fine after pleading guilty to two counts of cruelty to animals and one count each of failure to provide an animal with potable water, failure to provide medical attention and cruel neglect or abandonment.

Oppenheimer, who was featured on the Animal Planet channel in 2013, has been investigated twice this year on suspicion of animal neglect. In February, two camels escaped from her property west of Sahuarita twice within a week.

The charges she pleaded guilty to Friday were filed after authorities seized an emaciated horse from her property after neighbors reported Oppenheimer had not been seen for a few days and her animals had no water.

Last month Pima County Sheriff’s Detective Ted Noon said the seized horse was "making excellent progress" and Oppenheimer has found homes for her other animals.

Oppenheimer legally changed her name in January from Alexander Dirac Robert Warnock to Julius Robert Oppenheimer.

Kim Smith | 520-547-9740

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