A decision about the fate of nearly 200 vicious Chihuahuas seized
from an Acton breeder will be delayed until at least Friday, a judge
Burbank-based Chihuahua Rescue has been fighting to gain custody
of the animals so they can place them with people trained to deal
with antisocial dogs. Los Angeles County Animal Control officials
were planning to euthanize most of the animals, which they said had
formed vicious, feral packs. Agency officials had reached an
agreement with Chihuahua Rescue to turn the dogs over before a July
17 hearing, but the transfer was postponed by a judge after breeder
Emma Harter declined to sign the agreement. Harter is facing criminal
charges in connection with seizure of the animals.
At Tuesday’s hearing, newly assigned Judge Lisa Chung postponed
ruling on the dogs’ transfer until Friday, when she said she would
rule on several other motions by Harter’s attorneys, including a
motion to dismiss the case.
“I don’t have any indication what the judge is going to do, but
the dispersal of the dogs won’t be handled until the other motions
are heard,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Steven Heller said following Tuesday’s
While Heller said he was skeptical the judge would rule to
dismiss the case, he said it was unlikely the dogs would be returned
to Harter, since she lacks the license to have more than three dogs
in her home.
“I don’t think she could have the dogs returned to her
regardless,” he said, adding that he is hopeful the dogs will still
be released to Chihuahua Rescue.
Kimi Peck, founder of the rescue group, said she has grown
cautious about getting her hopes up that the dogs will be released
because of several delays in the case. She also said some of the dogs
have died while being spayed, and that a group of puppies died after
being taken away from their nursing mother.
“We’re getting different stories, but we know some of the dogs are
dying at the Baldwin Park [animal] shelter,” she said, referring to
the facility where the animals are being housed.
If and when the dogs are released to Chihuahua Rescue, Peck said
they would be transported to foster homes throughout the country and
not to her Burbank kennel. Organizations, including Alaska Airlines
and Sky Ark Inc., have offered discounted rates for transporting the
“As soon as they are released to us, we will pull up and start
loading,” she said. “They’ll go straight to airports, rescue
organizations or other facilities,” she said.