36 Chihuahuas were seized from two homes in California, some of them two-week-old puppies.
Officials with the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter seized the dogs while they were executing two search warrants on the properties. The first came on Monday and the second on Tuesday.
The homes were owned by relatives. Their investigation was prompted after they received a phone call from the landlord of an apartment complex. The landlord was concerned that no one was taking care of the Chihuahuas.
After they obtained search warrants, authorities discovered it was not just dogs being hoarded at the homes. Todd Stosuy, the animal shelter’s field services manager, stated, “It’s a hoarding case first because not only were animals being hoarded, but also objects and possessions.”
Along with hoarding, they were also considered breeding situations, because, Stosuy explained, “The dogs were indiscriminately breeding in the house.” Of the 36 Chihuahuas seized from the homes, 16 of them were puppies. Eleven were taken from an apartment, while 25 were taken from a home. Stosuy added that it “looks like there were three separate litters.”
Because the investigation is ongoing, no charges have been filed. It is possible that they will be eventually. Possible charges include animal neglect. In California, a misdemeanor animal neglect charges can carry a maximum of one year in county jail. There may also be a fine of up to $20,000.
The judge could impose just the fine, just jail, or both, depending on the case. Along with the potential jail time and fines, anyone convicted of misdemeanor animal neglect is banned from owning a pet for up to five years. For a felony conviction, the ban lasts for 10 years. The bans are part of a new state law.
While investigators continue their work, the dogs are being held at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter’s two locations. Soon they will go to foster homes and, hopefully, be adopted. Stosuy has issued a call for potential adoption families.
Would you consider adopting one of the 36 Chihuahuas seized from the two homes in California?
[Image via ShutterStock]