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104 dogs rescued from Lompoc home, sent to local, statewide shelters
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104 dogs rescued from Lompoc home, sent to local, statewide shelters

After Santa Barbara County officials impounded 104 dogs from a Lompoc home Thursday, animal services agencies across multiple counties offered to take in the pack of mainly Chihuahuas and prepare them for adoption into loving homes. 

Santa Barbara County Animal Services employees became aware of the situation Thursday morning after receiving a call from the landlord of the Lompoc home, according to Angela Yates, county Animal Services director. The owner surrendered the Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes. 

With Animal Control officers continuing their investigation into the situation, Animal Services Operations Manager Esteban Rodriguez declined to give further information about the conditions at the home where the dogs were found and whether the owner is expected to face charges but said more information will be forthcoming. 

According to the city of Lompoc municipal code, no more than four dogs over 4 months can be harbored at a time except by a licensed kennel or commercial establishment. 

From 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Thursday, staff completed a preliminary assessment of the scene and organized transportation of the dogs to the Santa Maria Animal Center on Foster Road, the county's largest shelter facility where most staff are centralized, Yates said. 

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A Santa Barbara County Animal Control officer sits at Santa Maria Animal Center with three of 104 total dogs that were impounded from a Lompoc home on Thursday.

Back in Santa Maria, an 18-person team of veterinarians, kennel staff, Animal Control employees, support staff and volunteers worked throughout the night to complete further assessments, give vaccinations and make the dogs comfortable. 

"It was an incredible team effort," Yates said. "It was more than a well-oiled machine; everyone just went into their role. It was just incredible." 

Simultaneously, Animal Services staff put out a call for help to neighboring shelters and agencies, and were met with offers of assistance from shelters in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Los Angeles counties. The response was so strong that staff eventually had offers to take in 200 dogs, and had to begin turning shelters away. 

Yates and Rodriguez said the collaboration between agencies turned the stressful experience into an amazing demonstration of partnership.

"This is the best experience I have ever had in my time here. It was seamless," Rodriguez said. "Every time someone else said that they would take some of the dogs, it was like a virtual high-five."

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Santa Barbara County Animal Services utilized a horse trailer, along with other vehicles, to transport 104 dogs that were rescued from a Lompoc home on Thursday. 

Shelter staff began to arrive on Thursday morning to pick up the dogs, with six total agencies arriving throughout the day. Overall, Ventura County Animal Services signed up to take 11 dogs; Ventura County Humane Society agreed to take 20; Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society took 29; Woods Animal Shelter in San Luis Obispo took 15; Burbank Animal Shelter signed up to take 10; and 18 were taken by the Santa Barbara Humane Society and Santa Maria Valley Humane Society. 

However, three dogs who went into labor during the night and morning, or were close to labor, ended up remaining at the Santa Maria Animal Center for further medical attention, Yates said. 

Sarah Dyar, a dog trainer at the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, arrived midday to pick up and transport their portion of the dogs. She said she was happy to hear that they were sociable and in good condition given the circumstances.

"My coworkers have the kennels sparkling with soft beds ready for them," she said as staff began placing the small dogs into crates in the van. 

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Santa Barbara County Animal Services rescued 104 dogs from a Lompoc home on Thursday and were met with immediate assistance from neighboring shelters, who arrived Friday morning to pick up groups of dogs for future adoption. 

Sue Berry, director of Operations at Woods Humane Society, said it might take some time before the dogs are ready for adoption. However, the vaccinations and health checks already completed by Santa Maria Animal Center will make the process easier, she added. 

"It's great the way all the shelters came together," Berry said.

Due to the amount of dogs at the home, a horse trailer and multiple vans were used to transport the dogs, all of which were in "good condition" when they arrived at the shelter, Rodriguez said. 

Ultimately, the hard work of Animal Services staff and the support of other shelters made the process much easier for the dogs, Yates said.

"There were a lot of dogs living in a small space," she said. "It's impossible not to feel overwhelmed. That's a lot of dogs that you want to see a good outcome for. All their support helped us through the night." 

Photos: 104 dogs rescued from Lompoc home, sent to local, statewide shelters

After Santa Barbara County officials impounded 104 dogs from a Lompoc home Thursday, animal services agencies across multiple counties offered to take in the pack of mainly Chihuahuas and prepare them for adoption into loving homes.

Santa Barbara County Animal Services employees became aware of the situation Thursday morning after receiving a call from the landlord of the Lompoc home, according to Angela Yates, county Animal Services director. The owner surrendered the Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes.

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Santa Barbara County Animal Services rescued 104 dogs from a Lompoc home on Thursday and were met with immediate assistance from neighboring s…

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This Chihuahua was transported to the Humane Society of Santa Barbara after county Animal Services rescued 104 dogs from a Lompoc home on Thur…

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A group of Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes await transportation to a shelter at the Santa Maria Animal Center on Friday. These were just a few …

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A Chihuahua mix is taken from Santa Maria Animal Center by staff from Woods Humane Society in San Luis Obispo on Friday. 

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A group of Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes await transportation to a shelter at the Santa Maria Animal Center on Friday. These were just a few …

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A Santa Barbara County Animal Control officer assists with transporting one of 104 dogs to local shelters in Santa Maria on Friday after they …

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A small Chihuahua mix sits in a kennel at the Santa Maria Animal Center on Friday awaiting transportation to another shelter. 

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Kennels were laid outside the Santa Maria Animal Center on Friday in preparation to transport over 100 dogs to other animal shelters. 

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Santa Maria City Reporter

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Laura Place covers city government, policy and elections in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County. Follow her on Twitter @itslaurasplace

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