About 140 dogs removed from Southern California home
ORANGE, Calif. (AP) — In what may be a nightmarish case of dog breeding gone bad, about 140 dogs have been removed from a multimillion-dollar home in a gated Southern California community and the owners cited for animal cruelty, authorities said.
The dogs, mostly Shih Tzus and Maltese poodles, were rescued Thursday from a home in the Orange County community.
Police said conditions in the home were filthy and some dogs were covered in their own waste. Others reportedly had patches of fur missing. Authorities who took the dogs away wore white protective suits and filter masks.
“There was very little furniture inside of that residence, and there was dog excrement, urine all over, inside, on the floor,” police Sgt. Phil McMullen told KCBS-TV. “It appeared to be unlivable. The smell was unbearable for me. I’m surprised how people can live in that situation.”
The home was red-tagged by officials who said it is unlivable until it is cleaned up.
The homeowners were given misdemeanor citations for animal cruelty but an investigation continued and they could face felony charges, police said.
The dogs were taken to the Orange County Animal Care shelter.
“It’s an incredible feat to be able to bring everybody in and get them all evaluated medically, get them all treated and, of course, housing them and caring for them,” the agency’s Jessica Novillo told KABC-TV.
The sheer number of animals has crowded the facility.
“We were fortunate that over the last week, we had over 170 adoptions ... which made some room, but obviously now we’re back at capacity,” Novillo said.
The dogs will be treated and may be available for adoption later.
One of the homeowners is an attorney with a Cerritos law firm which said in a statement that he was told not to come to work, KABC-TV reported .
“We have many animal lovers at the firm who are troubled by the reported conditions and hope that all the rescued dogs are safe and healthy,” the statement read, according to the television station.
Two San Clemente women arranged donations of 500 pounds (227 kilograms) of food and a lot of other supplies that they crammed into two SUVs and took to the shelter.