The Humane Society of San Diego on Thursday impounded three dogs, two cats, four kittens and a parakeet from a house in Southeast San Diego that police described as "a mess."
The officers assisted in serving a search warrant on John Gaines, who lives with his mother, Ruby, in the 400 block of Encinitas Avenue. Authorities found piles of garbage and "dead and live rats in the house," Police Officer Daniel Hattler said.
Humane Society spokeswoman Lani Kian said the agency issued a notice of violation May 23 to the Gaineses after receiving a report of a dog tangled in a leash in the front yard of the house. The dog was dead when agency workers arrived.
The agency then obtained a search warrant after the Gaineses failed to improve the living conditions of their other animals, Kian said.
Information obtained in the search will be turned over to the city attorney's office, and the Humane Society will recommend prosecution of the Gaineses on animal neglect charges, Kian said. Two misdemeanor counts, one for lack of general care and one for lack of veterinary care, could be filed for each impounded animal, she said.
"The conditions here are very poor in terms of sanitation," Kian said. The animals "are lacking in veterinary care and nutrition."
A necropsy performed on the dog was inconclusive because the animal had partly decomposed, officials said.
John Gaines said he plans to fight the action.
"All I know is I keep my animals fed and watered," he said. "We've been trying to get the (garbage) out, but the trash men won't take it all out at one time."
A judge will decide whether the animals will be returned to the owners or remain in the custody of the Humane Society, Kian said.