Twenty-five dogs found living in what officials call deplorable conditions at a Torrance home are now living at the Carson/Gardena Animal Care Center - but that has posed a big problem because of overcrowding at the shelter.
The dogs, many of them young terrier mixes, were discovered at the home after their owner had to be rushed to the hospital for a medical issue.
Lisa Ferranti of the Carson Rescue Team said some dogs don't seem to be adapting well to their pens. Some sit in their corners and shake, and others don't eat or simply won't leave their beds.
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"They're so scared," Ferranti said. "Most aren't socialized. This is a scary place."
The dogs were brought in with a few cats, and their arrival poses a big problem for the shelter, which is already overcrowded by at least 45 animals.
The influx of animals continues by the hour - the shelter gets up to 30 new animals every day. A new batch of Chihuahua puppies found in a cardboard box was dumped at the shelter Monday afternoon. One matted stray was found wandering the streets in the morning.
"Spring and summer are a busy time of year," said Lt. Javier Gutierrez of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. "A lot of animals are breeding and we get more animals surrendered. It does bring a burden to our shelter."
It's the bigger, older and sick dogs that are most at risk, because when there are no more empty kennels, shelter officials are left with a tough decision to make.
"They will start euthanizing for space if they feel they have nowhere else for animals to go," Ferranti said.
The shelter is putting out a call for people to come in and adopt or temporarily foster the animals in order to spare their lives.
The hoarding dogs are not yet available. There's a temporary hold on them while animal control officers investigate whether to charge their owner with animal cruelty. That could take up to a month or even more, likely meaning overcrowding at the shelter will only get worse.
Anyone wishing to help can put their name on a list to foster or adopt one of the dogs when they do become available, or adopt another animal that is already available to help make room.
For information on the Carson/Gardena Animal Care Center, including contact information and hours of operation, click here.
For the Saving Carson Shelter Dogs Facebook page, click here.