Officers Impound 21 dogs; Nine are Microchipped
Animal Services officers impounded 21 dogs from a defunct kennel in southwest Riverside County today.
Military Mutts Ranch, a board and care facility in Aguanga that catered to service men and women heading off on long deployments, failed a kennel inspection late last year when officers observed the property was over its limit of dogs allowed (30; owner had up to 70 at one point) and unsanitary conditions.
In a separate matter, Lt. Lesley Huennekens responded to the property last year regarding a deceased horse – and a malnourished horse – prompting the department to seek felony cruelty charges. She faces additional charges regarding alleged mistreatment of a dog. Those cases are pending.
Today’s impounds capped the end of Military Mutts, located at 43585 Cowboy Country Trail, south of Highway 371. The kennel operator submitted an urgent e-mail to Animal Services to assist with the remaining dogs at the property. The owner was not present, but two caretakers walked the dogs or carried them to the waiting officers, standing outside the property line.
No paperwork was provided on any of the dogs. However, nine of the 21 dogs are microchipped and Animal Services employees are reaching out to the presumed owners. Ten of the dogs appear to have been born at the property, due to their ages.
Earlier this year, Animal Services notified the owner, Charlotte Orrin, of a kennel license non-renewal, citing the unsanitary conditions as one of several factors. Ms. Orrin appealed that March decision to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. In May, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to deny the appeal and uphold Animal Services’ decision.
“I am proud of the work done by the Animal Services team to get us to this point and the effort performed on short notice,” department Director Erin Gettis said. “The owner could not provide care, turned over the remaining dogs, including two of her personal pets.”
All of the impounded dogs received evaluations and initial vaccinations and flea treatment, as is standard practice. Microchip records will dictate required hold periods and will likely assist with finding owners. But Animal Services staffers will also reach out to area military bases and other avenues to ensure a thorough search for owners. Dogs remaining after this effort will be available for adopters and rescue organizations. Those interested can reach out via e-mail at [email protected].