136 dogs seized from multimillion-dollar California home
Over 100 dogs living in filthy conditions were removed from a multimillion-dollar home in Orange, Calif., on Thursday, the Orange County Register reports.
Authorities said they received a call around 2:20 p.m. about possible animal cruelty at the residence. Animal control officers then arrived and removed 136 dogs — mostly Shih Tzus and Maltese poodles — from the home while wearing Hazmat suits. The dogs, which were found all over the house, were allegedly covered in feces, urine and fleas.
"There was very little furniture inside that residence," Sgt. Phil McMullen of the Orange Police Department told KCAL. "And there was dog excrement, urine all over, inside on the floor. It appeared to be unlivable. The smell was unbearable for me. I’m surprised how people could live in that situation."
The owners of the home, Edward and Jo Reitkopp, were cited for misdemeanor animal cruelty, although more charges could be added, the station notes.
One neighbor, Lisa Paul, told KCAL that she bought a Shih Tzu from the couple 10 years ago. She said she ended up spending $8,000 to take care of the dog because it had multiple health issues. The Shih Tzu died just four-and-a-half years later.
"When I walked up here, I saw it was the house, I nearly broke down in tears because it was a long haul for four-and-a-half years," she said.
Other neighbors said they weren't even aware that the Reitkopp owned dogs, let alone 136 of them.
"I just can’t even imagine that anyone would do something like this," one person told the station.
The news comes just several weeks after Pennsylvania authorities discovered 59 dead cats and 141 live ones in a woman's home. That woman was expected to face criminal charges.