Fifteen large mixed breed dogs were found living in unsanitary conditions with their owner, Richard Rutgard in Palm Springs, California. Police and Animal Rescue Corps officers raided the boarded up house on Tuesday of this week after receiving months of neighbor's complaints.

The neighbors had reported the Tramview Road home claiming constant barking and a foul smell. What the officers found was gut-wrenching. The dogs, who were all related to each other, were covered in bite marks and fresh wounds. The officers said that the dogs were injured from fighting with each other over food. The house was also damaged and unclean from all the dogs living in there.

According to Animal Rescue Corps President Scotlund Haisley, "The house was very typical to hoarding. It was boarded up, windows were boarded up, doors were boarded up, meaning something is in there and they don't want the world to know what's going on inside.

Because you have a large number of dogs in a small area, pack mentality, lots of anxiety, they're fighting over food, they're fighting over space, territory. They're ripping each other apart."

The owner said he never wanted the dogs to live in these kind of poor conditions. He complained that he had been given an un-neutered puppy by the Palm Springs Animal Shelter and that was why he ended up with so many dogs. He said he took the male puppy home to live with himself and his 2 female dogs. Pretty soon there were other puppies born to his female dogs.

He was served with a warning notice back in August to get rid of most of the dogs within two months. When he was asked why he didn't take them back to the shelter, he responded with: "They are so amazingly nice and kind and sweet. I feel safe and secure and happy - they're very therapeutic for a person."

He has refused to take any responsibility for his decision to let his dogs reproduce to the point of them having to live in a neglectful and abusive situation in his home. In fact he feels the blame should be put on the animal shelter. 'Why did they sell me a dog that wasn't neutered?' he said in an interview with a tv station in August. ' I'd like to have them [the animal shelter] pay - it's like child support for puppies'.

The dogs are now in emergency accommodations at the Palm Springs Rescue Center. They will be nursed back to health before hopefully being placed in new homes. The shelter's vet teams are assessing every injury and illness and treating them for it.

According to Haisley, "The property owner was very cooperative. He had good intentions but I think he clearly got in over his head and wanted the right thing for these animals. 'What we see is very difficult, but imagine how rewarding it is to reach into those cages, and break those chains, and look into the eyes of these animals and make them the promise that their suffering has ended forever. It's incredibly rewarding".

Rutgard now faces animal cruelty charges against him for the physical conditions of the dogs and their living conditions. The Palm Springs Animal Shelter said they would look into his allegations about being given an unneutered puppy.

New homes: The dogs rescued in Tuesday's operation, pictured, are now in emergency accommodation at the Palm Springs Rescue Center, right. They will be nursed back to help before hopefully being found new homes

Responses to "15 dogs living in unclean conditions with their owner and having to fight for food"

  1. Anonymous says:

    poor food all over the floor and the way the place looks...i think the owner was trying to do go but just got way out of control and got attached that he didnt want to give them away....if they told him to get rid of some of the dogs 2 months ago they must have seen and knew about the condition that they were living in....why wait 2 months for him to act upon being told to get rid of some of the dogs...that doesnt make any sense.....if the conditions where that bad they were that bad 2 months ago.....sorry for the dogs...yes he is responsible he knew he had 2 females at home and they were not fixed and he was bring home a male who would grow up and do what dogs do so it is his fault he should have made arrangements with the shelter he got the puppy from and got him fixed before 3 months so that this wouldnt happen......just my thought.....

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think the owner has a good heart. Just really bad judgement. I'm with anonymous above. Why did the animal control wait so long. The article stated that there were months of complaints of noise and smell. They also knew there was an issue there. When it comes to life, waiting isn't an option. People or animals. Poor judgement on their part too. Sadly the animals are the ones who paid for their mistakes.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree, months of complaints something should have been done sooner. As for the dogs, I hope they all find good loving homes, No animal should have to live like that.

  4. Anonymous says:

    There is a lot more to this story than you know. The animal shelters are full to the brim with unwanted dogs (because people don't get them spayed and neutered--there's no mystery to this), they simply did not have space for a large number of unruly, aggressive dogs. Try working in animal shelters yourself and you will see how tough it can be to handle all of the unwanted and neglected animals there are out there. To say that the animal shelter should have gone in and taken care of things a long time ago is naive and uninformed.

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