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23 Dogs Seized After Being Found Inside ‘Squalid’ Los Alamos Home

Animals had adequate food and water, but were in 'unlivable' conditions, according to Santa Barbara County County officials

A team from Santa Barbara County Animal Services seized 23 dogs Wednesday from inside a ‘squalid and unlivable’ home in Los Alamos. Click to view larger
A team from Santa Barbara County Animal Services seized 23 dogs Wednesday from inside a ‘squalid and unlivable’ home in Los Alamos. (Santa Barbara County Animal Services photo)

Twenty-three dogs were seized Wednesday from a home in Los Alamos by Santa Barbara County County Animal Services staff, according to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

While the dogs had adequate food and water, the conditions they were living in were described as “squalid and unlivable,” said Susan Klein-Rothschild, deputy director of community health.  

“For anyone to have this many animals is a concern,” Klein-Rothschild said. “We want to make sure the animals and people are safe.” 

The dogs received vaccinations and a preliminary assessment on-site before being transported to the Santa Barbara Animal Center for further care. 

The seizure required a 10-member team, including a veterinarian, three animal control officers, three supervisory staff, and a registered veterinary technician, in addition to others. 

The homeowner, whose name was not released, was not present when staff arrived, Klein-Rothschild said.

“There were no residents at home during the seizure,” Klein-Rothschild said. “The seizure took multiple hours and a note was placed on the front door.”

Animal Services was notified after a person filed a complaint expressing concern about potentially abandoned dogs.

One of 23 dogs seized Wednesday from a home in Los Alamos. Click to view larger
One of 23 dogs seized Wednesday from a home in Los Alamos. (Santa Barbara County Animal Services photo)

“Someone in the community said they smelled odors and heard noises,” Klein-Rothschild said. “The animals were found separated in different rooms.”

The preliminary assessment resulted in a notice of seizure under animal abuse and cruelty laws, she said.

Legal actions will proceed with the property owner, Klein-Rothschild said. 

“It is early in the investigation,” she said. “It will take us time to assess each animal and the owners. There are concerns about the number of animals, zoning components and the safety of people and the dogs.”

The legal number of dogs per household depends on the property is located, Klein-Rothschild said.

“It varies by jurisdiction,” she said. “Most of the time, it’s three dogs.”

Klein-Rothschild said it is likely some of the dogs will be available for adoption in the future through the Santa Maria Animal Center. 

For more information about dogs available for adoption, visit the Santa Maria Animal Center at 548 W. Foster Rd. in Santa Maria, the Santa Barbara Shelter at 5473 Overpass Rd. in Santa Barbara or the LaPAWS Adoption Center at 1501 W. Central Ave. in Lompoc.

The shelters are open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

The decrepit kitchen of a home in Los Alamos where 23 dogs were seized Wednesday by Santa Barbara County Animal Services. Click to view larger
The decrepit kitchen of a home in Los Alamos where 23 dogs were seized Wednesday by Santa Barbara County Animal Services. (Santa Barbara County Animal Services photo)

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