Nov. 1, 2012
Hannah Guzik, OVN correspondent
The 60 dogs rescued from a Simi Valley home early last month have rebounded and are being adopted from the Humane Society of Ventura County’s shelter in Ojai.
Eight of the mostly small-breed dogs have already gone to new homes, said John Brockus, director of investigations for HSVC.
“They turned out to be excellent animals once we got them out of that environment,” he said. “What a difference we’ve seen in their personalities now that they’re breathing clean air and have had their dental problems taken care of.”
Officials seized the dogs after receiving a tip that a Simi Valley resdient was harboring a large number of animals.
“It turned out to be a whole lot worse than what we had anticipated,” Brockus said.
He counted 140 dogs on the property, and 60 of them were living inside the house, some in crates stacked three high.
“Conditions in the house were so extremely bad,” Brockus said. “The house was full of ammonia from the urine and feces, so it was hard to even breath the air.”
The Humane Society seized all of the dogs living inside the home and brought them to the Ojai shelter. They were bathed and given dental and veterinary care.
After meeting with the Humane Society, the owner decided not to try to get the 60 dogs back, Brockus said. Simi Valley code enforcement officials are working with the owner to make sure she is in compliance with local laws and that the remaining dogs are well cared for, he added.
Brockus also provided an update on eight horses that the Humane Society seized in two separate cases in September.
Four severely malnourished horses — two miniature and two standard-sized — taken from an Oak View ranch Sept. 11 are gaining weight and have overcome their most pressing health problems, he said.
The Humane Society seized the horses after receiving a tip that their owner was paying for boarding space at a local ranch, but was not regularly feeding the animals. The horses were near death and could hardly walk, Brockus said.
“They were completely neglected to the point of nearly starving to death,” he said.
Officials transported the horses to the Ojai shelter and worked with a veterinarian to develop a diet plan. The two standard-sized horses developed colic — where their intestines start to twist — but were treated for the condition and are now recovering, Brockus explained.
The miniature horses, meanwhile, are doing very well and have put on a healthy amount of weight, he said.
The horses will remain at the shelter until they completely recover and until the investigation into their treatment is complete, Brockus noted.
Officials hope to prosecute the horses’ owner because their conditions were so severe, he said.
“This is a severe case of cruelty, no question,” Brockus said.
Four miniature horses seized from a Simi Valley property in late September in a separate case have been returned to their owner, after he complied with Humane Society requirements, according to Brockus.
Officials seized the horses after he refused an order to have their hooves trimmed. The horses were also living in a crowded pen with numerous sheep and cows, Brockus said.
“We told him to correct it and I guess he didn’t take it seriously,” he said. “We were really concerned that if their hooves weren’t taken care of, the horses were going to become lame.”
When the owner met with Humane Society officials a few days after the horses were seized, he agreed to pay for their treatment, boarding and impound fees, as well as comply with all future requirements and improve living conditions on his property by expanding the pen for his animals. He was charged over $1,000 for the horses’ treatment and boarding, Brockus said.
“We agreed to let him get them back, but he will forfeit ownership — we will take all of his animals — if he doesn’t continue to comply,” he said. “So far he has gone beyond what we required of him, so that’s good.”
The Humane Society of Ventura County is open Monday through Saturday. For more information on adopting an animal or to report suspected abuse, visit www.humanesocietyvc.org or call 646-6505.