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Ruling delayed on fate of Chihuahuas

Ben Godar

A decision about the fate of nearly 200 vicious Chihuahuas seized

from an Acton breeder will be delayed until at least Friday, a judge

ordered Tuesday.

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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

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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

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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

hearing.

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

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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

dogs.

“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.


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