61 sheepdogs looking for new homes after house fire in Riverside

Three people also left without a home after the blaze

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Sixty-one sheepdogs and sheepdog-mixes have been rescued from a house fire in Riverside, ``all look great'' and will be put up for adoptions, a county worker said Sunday.

The Shetland sheepdogs and Shelty-mixes have ``good coats and no behavioral issues,'' said Riverside County Animal Services spokesman John C.  Welsh.  This was despite records that show no kennel permit had been granted at the address, and the dogs had been allowed to roam freely on a large, fenced  lot.

``They all seem to be in excellent health,'' he told City News Service.

The dogs were recovered after an attic fire damaged a single-story home on Pick Place, in the Woodcrest neighborhood south of Riverside. Three people were also burned out of the home.

Animal rescue groups have been contacted to retrieve the dogs and put them up for adoption, Welsh said. It was not immediately known if the animals have been spayed or neutered.

No cause behind the 3:13 p.m. blaze has not been determined, Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman Jennifer Fuhrman said.

There was no kennel on the property as the home owner allowed the dogs to roam freely. Animal control officials were already familiar with the home but it was not certain if the owner had recently been cited for having that many dogs on her property, Welsh said.

Anyone with more than five dogs at their home would need to have a kennel permit, Welsh said.

In the past, anyone with this many dogs would be in trouble, but the dogs were all healthy and had no behavioral issues to speak of, Welsh  explained.

Welsh said anyone interested in finding out about adopting any of the Shetland sheepdogs can visit the Riverside County Animal Services facility at 6851 Van Buren Blvd, Jurupa Valley.   

Welsh said some of the shelties need grooming and some are a bit shy and a little fearful. An experienced dog owner would be best for the shy/fearful ones.

Officials ask that potential adopters visit the facility in person rather than making a phone call. They said the curious callers jam up their phone center as team members try to assist critical calls for service about stray dogs and other emergencies.

For more information about the shelter, visit www.rcdas.org.

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