clear the shelters

Some of the Nearly 80 Dogs Illegally Caged at a Riverside County Property Are Ready for Adoption

The dogs were found in small cages on a property in Winchester.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Dozens of dogs illegally caged in a field in Riverside County are ready for adoption.

Nearly 80 dogs were found at the Winchester property in August. The seizure order was served on Beeler Road, just north of Simpson Road, where the dogs were kept in cages about four or five to a pen.

The 76 dogs were placed there by a physically disabled man in his late 50s who does not own the property, which had been converted into a squatter camp. In a two-hour process, the dogs were loaded onto trucks for transportation to the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus.

The caged dogs included German shepherd and pit bull mixes.

Most of the dogs were plagued by "fly strikes,'' in which flies infest their coats, a condition that's easily treatable. Five of the dogs were euthanized because of poor health conditions.

“They were living in dirty conditions, cramped conditions,” said Lt. Lesley Huennekens, of the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

Some of the dogs have behavioral challenges and likely would do well in a home with an experienced dog owner. They have been living in small cages without any socialization.

"Definitely, not first-time owner type dogs," she said. "That's why we'd really like our rescue partners to reach out and help these dogs out."

An animal services spokesman said the dogs' retainer, whose name was not released, identified himself as an "animal rescue'' operator, but he allegedly has no license to operate a kennel and has been known to move around the county.

Code enforcement officers issued citations to the other squatters, red-tagging their trailers and giving them notice to vacate.

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