Investigators and animal care workers are asking for the public’s help after 29 dogs were abandoned in crates at a Laguna Hills park.
“Two women and a man dumped (29) small dogs in two crates at a park,” said Orange County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Gary Strachan.
Earlier this week, witnesses watched the trio unload the dogs at San Remo Park in Laguna Hills. The witnesses wrote down the license plate of the truck that the three drove off in, leading investigators to a set of suspects, but no arrests have been made yet, Strachan said. If arrested, the suspects could face multiple counts of animal cruelty.
“There was no water and no food in the cages,” said Ryan Drabek director of OC Animal Care. “We are very fortunate that someone saw this and were quick to call and we were able to get out there so quickly.”
A mixture of small dogs such as Lhasa Apso and Chihuahua-mixes ranging from puppies to adults, the dogs were healthy, but showed signs of neglect – matted hair and long nails, and they are obviously scared, said Drabek.
All the dogs have been evaluated by veterinarians and will soon undergo temperament testing to determine their suitability for adoption. The sudden influx of 29 dogs places a significant burden on the shelter especially because the dogs will not be available for adoption until after the investigation is completed Drabek said.
“I can’t remember the last time we had such a large number of animals dumped in a park. This is very odd and unusual,” Drabek said.
“We try to keep them together to lower the stress level,” he added.
Additionally, volunteers will work with the dogs to keep them socialized and accustomed to people throughout the course of the investigation.
Anyone with information about the incident can call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department tip line at 855-847-6227. Anyone wishing to help with the care and adoption of the dogs can call OC Animal Care at 949-249-5160.