Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19677
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

County: Orange

Disposition: Alleged
Case Images: 3 files available

Alleged: Names Undisclosed

Police have identified two women and a man suspected of dumping 30 small dogs boxed in two kennels at a local park, sheriff's Capt. Steve Doan said late Friday afternoon.

"We have interviewed two and are conducting a third interview," Doan said. "After the interview we will determine the level of involvement of each of the people and determine what the possible charges could be."

Doan said the case will be turned over to the District Attorney's office and likely charges could include animal cruelty and endangerment. No arrests have been made in the case. Investigations are continuing but so far have revealed that the dogs were owned by one woman for quite a while, Doan said.

The incident was reported to the Orange County Sheriff's Department after witnesses saw a woman in a Toyota truck stop in the parking lot of San Remo Park at San Remo Drive and Taranto at about 5:20 p.m. on Sunday. The park is located in the middle of a neighborhood surrounded by houses. It also has a volleyball and tennis courts.

The woman put the crates stuffed full of Lhasa Apso and Chihuahua-mixes on the sidewalk of the neighborhood park right near the road and under some trees. According to witnesses two others helped unload the dogs. The two women and a man then left the crated animals on the sidewalk and left the park in a black Mercedes. The Toyota truck was left behind.

Sheriff's Lt. Tom Behrens said investigators tracked the license plate from the truck to a Huntington Beach address but the suspected woman no longer lived there. Continued investigations of the license plate eventually led detectives to the three suspects now being interviewed.

The puppies and dogs ranging in age from six months to six years were picked up by animal control officers and taken to the Orange County shelter.

They are being cared for there while the investigation continues, Ryan Drabek, director of OC Animal Care said.

"Overall, their health is pretty good," Drabek said. "Some were matted and had overgrown nails. Their temperaments are good but they're scared."

Drabek said no one has come forward to claim the dogs.

"Situations like this can overburden an already overburdened shelter," he said. "When the animals become available, we'll reach out to the community to get them homes. We'll need the public's help."

The woman accused of leaving the dogs could face animal cruelty and abandonment charges, Behrens said.

Behrens called the incident 'very odd' especially when the woman left a car behind with the abandoned animals.

The origin of the animals is unclear. Some volunteers from animal rescue groups believe it could be an example of backyard breeding. There have been numerous Twitter and Facebook posts in an effort to find more details about the woman.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Animal Shelter at 949-249-5160 or the Orange County Sheriff Department's Crime Stopper at 855-TIP-OCCS or 855-847-6227.


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