Thirty dogs and a cat locked inside a squalid Jurupa Valley home were rescued today by Riverside County Department of Animal Services personnel, who said the abandoned pets seemed to be doing well.
The animals were discovered in a single-story residence in the 5500 block of Tilton Avenue, officials said. Most of the dogs were Chihuahua mixes, between six months and 2 years old. However, there was also a 12-year-old female German shepherd and a poodle mix -- the latter plagued with "severely matted" hair and covered in filth, said John Welsh of animal services.
"None of the dogs appeared to have major medical issues," he said. The animals were discovered by a contractor hired to work on the property, from which the previous tenant had been evicted Wednesday. Neighbors told reporters that the dogs were a constant source of noise, barking day and night.
Most of the pets were restricted to makeshift cages in the kitchen. All but the German shepherd were unaltered, according to Welsh. The dogs and 15-year-old cat will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped, Welsh said.
The woman who was leasing the house where the pets were found can still claim them as her own and has 10 days to do so before they're put up for adoption, Welsh said, noting that the woman would face numerous citations for not having county-issued licenses for any of the animals.
"Although the conditions were deplorable at this home, the dogs were provided shelter, food and water," Department of Animal Services Deputy Director Frank Corvino said. "At this time, it does not appear we will seek animal cruelty charges. But the case remains open and we'll re-assess everything before we make a final decision."
According to Welsh, after the 10-day period has lapsed, the animals will be made available at the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter, 6851 Van Buren Blvd. Some of the dogs may be transferred to rescue groups with which the agency coordinates, Welsh said.