By Angela Hill, The Oakland Tribune
Several of 33 dogs removed from squalid conditions in an East Oakland house in early December had to be euthanized because they were in such bad shape. But others were rehabilitated and adopted out through various agencies and are now in loving homes, Oakland animal control officials said Thursday.
In fact, only three still remain at the Oakland Animal Shelter, awaiting adoption.
"We still have Goofy, who we believe is about a year old, Amaryllis, also a year, and Jody, who's about 5," said Megan Webb, director of Oakland Animal Services.
"Some were placed through the East Bay SPCA and other rescue groups. One sweetheart, Edna, who was about 12, has found a home up in Oregon," Webb said. "We're very happy to have been able to place these dogs that had such a horrible existence for so long."
The dogs, mostly pit bull and terrier mixes in a range of sizes, were rescued by animal control workers Dec. 9 after numerous complaints from neighbors about barking noise and a terrible odor coming from a home on Capistrano Drive, owned by 68-year-old Arthey Yancey.
Oakland police Officer Sarah Whitmeyer, now assigned full time to animal services, was able to get a warrant and enter the property, describing the scene as "horrific," Whitmeyer said. Most dogs were in crates, stacked on top of each other in one of the rooms of the two-bedroom house. Some were chained. Many were soaked in urine, their crates overflowing with excrement. Many were bloody and had possibly been used as fighting dogs, Webb said. Feet and legs were splayed on some of the animals. And then a few were in surprisingly good condition."One of the worst things when we went in there was the sound," Webb said. "These 33 dogs in desperation and fear, barking nonstop. It was awful."
Yancey, who claimed he was picking up lost dogs from the neighborhood, was charged earlier this week in Alameda County Superior Court with felony animal cruelty. He was released on his own recognizance.
"We believe he was breeding dogs, but we're still looking into that at this point," Webb said. "It looks like it could have been some kind of hoarding or dogfighting thing."
With the addition of a sworn police officer at animal services, more investigations into suspected cruelty cases have been undertaken, Webb said. In 2010, five felony abuse cases culminated in charges and two convictions, she said.