Orange County Animal Care veterinarians Friday were caring for more than 140 dogs taken from the home of an attorney and his wife in a gated community in the city of Orange.
Edward Reitkopp, 66, and his wife, Josephine Giamettareitkopp, 65, were given misdemeanor citations as Animal Care officials in hazardous materials suits removed the dogs from the home in the 3800 block of East Woodbine Avenue, said Sgt. Phil McMullin of the Orange Police Department.
“I don’t know how people lived in that home, the smell was so disgusting,” McMullin said.
“The house was pretty empty in terms of furniture” as the dogs were given free rein throughout, McMullin said.
“The heroes of the day were the people who had to go inside and get the dogs out,” McMullin said of Animal Care workers.
An anonymous tip to police led investigators to the home, McMullin said.
As Animal Care assesses each dog evidence will be collected and eventually turned over to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, McMullin said.
McMullin said 136 dogs were taken from the filthy conditions, but Jessica Novillo of Animal Care said it was more than 140. She would not comment on the conditions of the dogs or what will be done with them now.
Reitkopp is an attorney for a Cerritos firm who focuses on labor and employment issues. A message sent to him Friday was not immediately returned.
Orange police said they were contacted by animal care officials about 2:20 p.m. Thursday after an anonymous tip of possible animal cruelty. The residents allowed officers to enter the home and conduct a welfare check on the animals.
The dogs were all small breeds, mostly Shih Tzus and Maltese poodles, McMullin said. It appeared some of the dogs were breeding as “there were a couple of fresh litters upstairs,” McMullin said.
“Some had matted hair, some looked skinnier than others and some looked shaken and scared,” McMullin said of the dogs.
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