More than 30 pit bulls were rescued today from a house south of Riverside where they had been left in “really bad” conditions, suffering from malnutrition — possibly causing some of the canines to die.
“We’re investigating this as a case of animal cruelty,” Riverside County Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh told City News Service. “These dogs have clearly been neglected.”
Welsh said an animal control officer was first called to the Avocado Way property Tuesday after a neighbor reported a foul stench emanating from it. The officer decided to wait until 11 this morning to attempt to access the property, which is just off La Sierra Avenue, on the back side of a relatively new subdivision lining Greentree Drive.
“There’s a heavy stench all around the property,” Welsh said. “There’s all manner of animal waste inside. It’s a really bad situation.”
Indications are the location may have been used for breeding, but Welsh could not immediately confirm that. The owner of the property was not on-site
when the eight animal control officers conducted their raid, according to Welsh.
He said at least 25 dogs were found alive, almost all of them with protruding rib cages. Ten dogs were found dead on the property.
“There’s no record of a kennel permit here,” Welsh said. “We had not received any prior complaints.”
The hacienda-style home was in complete disarray, according to pictures distributed by animal services. Seven abandoned vehicles ring the home, Welsh
“It’s a free-for-all,” he said. “We don’t know if the guy lived here or what.”
The malnourished pit bulls will be impounded at the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley, where they’ll receive veterinary care, Welsh said, adding that he was unsure whether all of the dogs would survive.
Under county ordinances, a person who breeds any type of canine must be licensed. Anyone who owns pit bulls and isn’t a registered breeder must have
the dogs sterilized.
Welsh said the suspect who kept the dogs seized today could face either misdemeanor or felony animal cruelty charges, depending on the circumstances
and whether the District Attorney’s Office accepts the case.