April 28, 2008
Animal Control Officers with the County’s Department of Animal Services served a search warrant at a house on Prospect Avenue in Santee on Saturday. Officers found the house filled with debris, feces and urine -- and 23 dogs, a tortoise, a skunk, a cat and a macaw. A dead bird was also found. The inside was so foul that officers wore masks and paper suits to protect themselves from the filth.
“This is clearly among the worst hoarding situations we have come across recently,” said John Carlson, Deputy Director of the County’s Department of Animal Services. “Unfortunately, when people begin to collect animals, the animals are often neglected.”
Officers became aware of a problem after a tip from a concerned citizen. Officers seized a dog last week that was not receiving appropriate veterinary care. Officers found most of the dogs tied up on short leads inside the house – many tangled. Only one dog had access to water. There was no sign of food. The rooms were, in some cases, 2 feet deep in debris.
All of the animals are now in the custody of Animal Services, and housed at its shelter at 5821 Sweetwater Rd. in Bonita. They have been examined by veterinary staff and are receiving appropriate care. All were very hungry and thirsty when impounded.
While the investigation continues, it appears that the animals were acquired by an animal rescue group from animal shelters in southern California. After evidence is compiled, this case will be submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for possible prosecution.