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Calif. firefighters rescue over 80 dogs in hoarding intervention

The Modesto Fire Department said the oxygen level inside the house was at 16% due to high levels of ammonia from “extensive urine”

By Trevor Morgan
The Sacramento Bee

CERES, Calif. — Over 80 dogs were rescued Tuesday from a Ceres home that was described by the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency in a press release as having “deplorable conditions.” Response to the hoarding situation also included two people being arrested and two others being sent to a hospital for treatment, according to the Modesto Fire Department.

The two receiving medical evaluation and treatment are a 76-year-old woman and a 4-year-old child, according to KCRA. Information on what they were treated for, and their conditions, was not available Wednesday morning.

Animal Services reported that its personnel faced “dire circumstances” and were unable to enter the home. Oxygen levels were measured at 16% by the Fire Department, attributed to the high levels of ammonia from “extensive urine” throughout the property.

The Fire Department initiated the rescue and safely evacuated the dogs. The conditions the dogs lived in were described by Animal Services as “dark and unsanitary,” the results of which took “a severe toll on their health and well-being.”

“While we are relieved to have rescued these innocent animals from such dire circumstances, it is heart-wrenching to witness the suffering they have endured,” read a statement from Vaughn Maurice, executive director of Stanislaus Animal Services, included in the release. “Our priority now is to provide them with the necessary medical attention, rehabilitation, and, ultimately, find them loving forever homes.”

Two people, reportedly residents of the home, were arrested by Ceres police in connection with the incident, according to a Fire Department summary. The Ceres Police Department was not immediately reached Wednesday morning to confirm the charges on which they were arrested.

There is a discrepancy as to how many dogs were rescued. Animal Services reported 81 dogs rescued, but the Fire Department reported 88.

Tuesday’s incident came in the same months Animal Services officers rescued more than 50 dogs from other alleged hoarders. The rescue further exasperates the current overcrowding situation at the county animal shelter on Cornucopia Way.

The shelter hit a peak of 327 dogs — over 180% of its capacity — on Monday, which prompted increased efforts to encourage adoption, The Modesto Bee reported.

The dogs rescued Tuesday will first see a vet before being made available for adoption, according to Animal Services.

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