A Northern California man faces possible animal cruelty charges after authorities removed nearly 30 starving dogs from property on which he was allegedly squatting.
Nevada County sheriff's officials, alerted by public complaints, arrived at the North San Juan area property over the weekend to find no food and dogs that were in "poor condition."
Animal control officers were initially only able to capture 26 dogs Saturday after the owner gave a command and the pack scattered into the surrounding forest, according to the sheriff's office. The man, who was not immediately identified, was eventually convinced that putting them in a shelter was more humane and he helped officers capture three more dogs.
The owner had "no food, no money, and was unwilling to produce proof of possessing a driver's license," authorities said in a news release. It was unclear how many more dogs were still left at the property, but animal control officers planned to keep looking.
About half of the dogs remain at Sammie’s Friends Animal Shelter after they were examined by a veterinarian. The others were placed into foster care, the sheriff's office said.
Cheryl Wicks, who works at the shelter, told CBS-Sacramento that she had never seen such a large case of animal neglect.
“They’re kind of afraid, they don’t know where they are,” she said.
The case was being submitted to the Nevada County district attorney's office for review.