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Nearly 80 dogs were confiscated on Wednesday, August 11, from a man who was illegally living on property in Winchester, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services said.
The joint operation between Animal Services, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and County Code Enforcement staff took place around 8:00 a.m. on non-county land on Beeler Road, near the Adams 32000 block Street, said John Welsh, county roster spokesman. The dog’s owner and others lived there illegally in several mobile homes, Welsh said.
The dogs – which consisted of roughly one-third pit bulls, one-third German Shepherds, and one-third Labrador mixes – were kept in kennels, pens and small cages, Welsh said.
We’re issuing a confiscation order in a makeshift warehouse in Winchester. Almost 80 dogs. We’re getting great help from our friends @RSO & @RivCo_Code & County Behavioral Health. @RivCoNow pic.twitter.com/OAQGoait8P
– RivCO animalSERVICES (@helpinRIVcoPETS) August 11, 2021
Code Enforcement had alerted Animal Services to the situation and officials first asked the owner to hand over the dogs, Welsh said. The owner refused, however, and Animal Services received a seizure warrant from the Riverside County Superior Court, Welsh said.
To Welsh’s surprise, none of the dogs showed any signs of abuse or neglect, and some were even overweight, he said. There was no running water on the property, but it appeared that large containers of water were being transported onto the property.
However, Welsh said there was a large amount of animal waste and flies on the property.
“It’s almost 100 degrees on a day like this out there today, so it’s not a good situation for her,” said Welsh.
All animals were transported to a facility in San Jacinto around 10:30 am, and many were able to be vaccinated on-site by veterinary staff. The dogs all displayed pretty good demeanor and temperament, Welsh said.
“We hope this can be a 100 percent rescue for the dogs,” said Welsh. “We are optimistic that this will happen with this situation.”
Some of the dogs that were recovered appeared to be microchipped and Animal Services would be in touch with possible owners, Welsh said. The dogs are held for a period of 10 days, during which the Winchester property owner has the opportunity to reclaim the dogs through the court, but the dogs are eligible for adoption or foster care after the 10 day period. Welsh said.
During the operation, the owner did not hinder the seizure of the animals and was eventually taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation after allegedly saying things that worried authorities about his mental health, Welsh said. The owner is also charged with trespassing, according to Welsh, as well as various violations of building codes.