29 dogs seized from San Juan Ridge hoarder | TheUnion.com

29 dogs seized from San Juan Ridge hoarder

Cheryl Wicks of Sammie's Friends with the dogs from a homeless man in North San Juan, Monday afternoon at the shelter on McCourtney Road.
John Hart/jhart@theunion.com | The Union

Animal Control officers seized 29 dogs from a reported dog hoarder on the San Juan Ridge over the weekend — and were hoping to retrieve two remaining dogs at the property Monday.

“The dogs were breeding out of control and had no food,” said Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal.

The owner, a man described as essentially homeless by Sammie’s Friends founder Cheryl Wicks, reportedly was not able to take care of the more than 30 dogs where he was living in the 16000 block of Bear Trap Springs Road.

“They’re skinny, very skinny,” said Wicks of the rescued canines. “They don’t seem sick, but they haven’t had enough to eat for a long time.”

Animal Control officers went to the property Saturday and were able to corral 26 of the dogs, although some had scattered into the woods, Royal said.

They returned Sunday, and the owner, who was not identified, reportedly commanded the remaining dogs to scatter again.

Three of the dogs eventually were found and seized by Animal Control; officers had returned to the site again Monday, but it was not know if they had succeeded in catching the remaining two pups reported to be on the property.

The investigation is continuing, and Royal said the case would be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution of felony animal abuse.

According to Wicks, seven of the dogs rescued were about 6 weeks old, and another seven were about 4 months old; those were taken in by Pound Puppy Rescue.

That group has posted photos of some of the older puppies on its Facebook page and is looking for foster homes.

The remaining 15 dogs were adults and remain at the county’s shelter, which is administered by Sammie’s Friends.

“It has put quite a bit of stress on us,” Wicks said. “We only have 30 kennels to begin with — we have them two to a kennel. They’re hard to deal with because they are all so hungry they just dive in. We’re trying to monitor the feeding so the bigger, more aggressive ones don’t get all the food.”

Wicks said in the last year, the shelter had received a horse and two dogs that she linked to the same man.

“He probably got a dog or two and didn’t get them spayed or neutered, and it just got out of control,” she said. “He just had no resources and didn’t know how to reach out to us.”

Wicks said some of the dogs could be ready to adopt soon.

The dogs are possibly a German shepherd mix, she said, adding, “I use the term fairly loosely — they’re not purebred by any means.”

The shelter’s immediate needs are financial, Wicks said.

“To spay and neuter that many dogs, it’s about $2,000,” she said. “Plus food and vaccines, we’re probably talking maybe $4,000 to get them back on their feet because there are so many of them. Donations would be appreciated.”

To contact the shelter, call 530-471-5041 or email info@sammiesfriends.org.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.

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