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Arrest warrants issued for Floresville ISD board member accused of donkey theft

Alena Berlanga to face misdemeanor theft and criminal trespassing charges

Alena Berlanga is wanted on two warrants related to the June 8th theft of a donkey in rural Wilson County.
Alena Berlanga is wanted on two warrants related to the June 8th theft of a donkey in rural Wilson County. (ksat)

WILSON COUNTY, TexasUpdate - This article has been updated to include statements from Floresville ISD and its board president as well as an amended statement from Berlanga’s attorney.

A board member of the Floresville Independent School District is wanted on multiple misdemeanor charges in Wilson County after investigators said she and two other people stole a donkey from a pasture west of Floresville.

Alena Berlanga, 49, will face charges of theft $100-$750 and criminal trespassing after she turns herself in or is taken into custody.

A Wilson County Sheriff’s investigator told KSAT 12 Wednesday that two other suspects wanted in connection to the case, Nickol Sullivan-Santos and Pamela Johnson, were working on arrangements to turn themselves in.

The investigator said Berlanga has yet to contact the agency about turning herself in.

Berlanga and the two other suspects are accused of going onto a pasture in the 7000 block of FM 2579 on June 8 and taking a donkey they believed was delivering a foal.

The pasture was secured by a fence and gate lock, the investigator said.

The donkey was taken to a ranch in Wilson County but the foal did not survive the birth, the investigator said.

The donkey was treated by a veterinarian and returned to the pasture, according to the investigator, who added that the three suspects did not have permission to go onto the property or to take the donkey.

A Floresville ISD spokeswoman released the following statement Wednesday afternoon on behalf of the district:

FISD is just learning of the charges against Board Member Alena Berlanga. When contacted by the district, Mrs. Berlanga said that her attorney would be issuing a statement on her behalf. This is a law enforcement issue and the district will monitor the situation as it moves forward.

Floresville ISD Board President Penny Smith released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

The charges are, by no means, how we want to represent ourselves as a Board. This is very unfortunate. Allegations such as these do not promote the best interests of the District.

An attorney representing Berlanga said her client was scheduled to turn herself into authorities Wednesday afternoon.

The attorney released the following statement:

The warrants for Ms. Berlanga’s arrest stem from accusations as Ms. Berlanga helped rescue an animal desperately in need of medical attention. The people involved in this matter had only the intent to save an animal who was unable to fully give birth to a deceased and partially decayed foal. Ms. Berlanga is a certified animal control officer as well as the President and Founder of the Wilson County No Kill Animal Shelter. The shelter covered the cost of medical care for the animal and the animal was returned to the property after receiving care.

Berlanga represents Floresville ISD’s District 6, according to the district’s website.


About the Authors:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined the KSAT 12 Defenders in 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat. He provides restaurant health reports for KSAT's "Behind the Kitchen Door." Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with more than 12 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter.