Owner of 15 dogs speaks about giving them up

Palm Springs man says dogs were the finest, healthiest and smartest in the whole world

Bianca Rae, KESQ News Channel 3 & CBS Local 2 Reporter, brae@kesq.com
POSTED: 06:12 AM PST Jan 31, 2013    UPDATED: 05:49 PM PST Jan 30, 2013 
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

Richard Rutgard said, simply, he didn't deserve what happened to him.
 
"I was there 24 hours a day with these dogs, raising them, training them, teaching them. They are the finest dogs, healthiest dogs, smartest dogs in the whole world," Rutgard said of his 15 dogs.

We sat down with Rutgard to hear his story. It began a week before the raid, when he tried to give up his dogs to the Palm Springs Animal Shelter.
 
"They told me they won't take them, even though they told me previously that they would, and that in one week, members from a private animal rescue organization will come to my house," Rutgard said.
 
Rutgard said it's the way it happened that bothers him most.  

"There must have been a minimum of 65 people there - fire trucks, police cars, U-Haul trucks. Then I counted 35 to 40 people wearing a black t-shirt with these white wings on it," Rutgard said.

That's the Animal Rescue Corps, a non-profit animal protection organization. We asked Rutgard about two very disturbing things.

First, the condition of his home. Rutgard said the animals knocked their food over during the raid.

"The only problem with the house is the kibble on the floor. One blogger I read said they're claiming the dogs are fighting over food. How? These dogs did not fight over food," Rutgard said.

Second, the scars on the animals.

"I picked him up, he was dying, he was attacked by Dobermans in front of my office and his leg was completely broken off," Rutgard said.

The Animal Rescue Corps said that explains one dog, but not the others.  

"The records we have gone through indicate that all but two dogs he's had their entire life," Scotlund Haisley, president of the Animal Rescue Corps, said.

In response to being called a hoarder, Rutgard shook his head.

"It's not hoarding. These people have hundreds of dogs and the dogs are starving, flea bitten, all kinds of conditions and diseases. They don't even give them water," Rutgard said.
     
Rutgard wished he could keep a few of the dogs, but they all got taken away.

"What we found was a condition not conducive for a life for these animals," Haisley said.
 
The animal shelter director told us it turned the dogs away because the city deals with animal control cases. Rutgard made some startling allegations about the Animal Rescue Corps. We're investigating, and we'll let you know what we find out.