ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Dozens of dogs, most of them chihuahuas, were seized from a family’s home in one of Bernalillo County’s biggest hoarding cases. Now, the dogs have to play a waiting game.
The animals are currently at one of Albuquerque’s animal shelters, as Bernalillo County works to figure out whether some of them should go back to their owner or not. Some are weeks old, some of them are older and more timid. All 36 dogs, most of them chihuahuas, were seized from just one home in the east mountains late last week.
“The sanitation was not adequate or appropriate for animals or a person to be living there,” said Misha Goodman, Director of Bernalillo County Animal Care Services.
Goodman told KRQE News 13 someone brought in about 10 dogs to Animal Humane a few weeks ago from the home. Then, last week, Bernalillo County deputies responded to the house on a medical call, and spotted more than 40 animals on the property.
“Years ago, the person had a permit to maintain 11 animals, but obviously this had gone way beyond that, and it’s been years since a permit was maintained for the property,” Goodman explained.
The owner hasn’t been criminally charged, so the county isn’t releasing names.
Officials said there were at least 36 dogs, including 32 chihuahuas, three cats, seven goats and some chickens on the property. A dead chicken and cat were found near the home.
“Certainly more than were able to be cared for there,” said Goodman.
Dogs were living in their own filth, some of them malnourished. Now, they’re being cared for at the city’s animal shelter, while the county works with the property owner to try and resolve the case.
“It’s not always relevant to file criminally on these cases, sometimes it is but it depends on the situation,” Goodman explained. “Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting assistance to the individual and what they need.”
Now, agencies are also working on the dogs’ needs, in hopes this will be the start of a better life for the animals.
Bernalillo County officials were hoping to meet with the property owner Wednesday, but had to reschedule. They’re hoping the owner will sign over most of the dogs to the county, so they can be adopted out.
The dogs cannot be adopted while the case is still pending.
Bernalillo County’s animal ordinance allows people to have up to six dogs. After that, a person must get a permit.
Animal Care Services asks anyone that sees similar problems going on, to call them immediately.
“The sooner we can get to these situations, the better, obviously for the animals and for the individuals involved,” Goodman added.
In this case, Goodman said the Environmental Health Department was called, along with social services to assist.