RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. - Dozens and dozens of dogs were taken from packed cages littered with excrement at a squatter camp near Menifee.
Riverside Animal Control started getting calls about the animals, which were being kept in outside cages, many without access to running water.
The owner of the lot had no idea that several people had set up a large encampment on her property off Simpson Road, in the Winchester area of Menifee. There were trailers, water tranks, dozens of 3-wheeled ATVs and cages. Some of the cages had tarps over them, in an attempt to shield the animals from the 100+ degree heat.
The animals were pretty friendly, as officers approached them and vets checked them. None seemed terribly underweight, although some showed signs of dehydration.
The man caring for them told officials he was running a dog rescue but had no licensing that they could find. The animals will be checked and put up for adoption.
Many are pit bulls, but there were also shepherd mixes and other mixed breeds.
The encampment is one of many by squatters taking advantage of empty lots. The dogs, at least that many of them, were visible to the concerned neighbors who ultimately called authorities.
The location has been posted with no trespassing, and the people living there have been packing up their belongings in rented U-Haul trucks. But the cleanup of the location, including the feces and garbage, is now the responsibility of the landowner, who must contract to do it or get charged by the county.