More than 20 dogs were rescued from an unlicensed kennel Thursday in Aguanga, where a horse died and another was found suffering from malnourishment — instances that could lead to felony animal cruelty charges against the operator.

Riverside County Department of Animal Services personnel, along with sheriff’s deputies, went to Military Mutts Ranch at 43585 Cowboy Country Trail, near Success Drive, Thursday morning to clear the property of remaining pets.

The owner, Charlotte Orrin, had been under investigation for months due to incidents that occurred at different times, culminating in the county revoking her kennel license in May, according to officials.

Orrin had been granted an operating certificate in 2014 to utilize the five-acre space for kenneling canines and other animals. The location was billed as a place for members of the U.S. Armed Services to leave their pets for safekeeping while they deployed overseas.

According to Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh, at one time, up to 70 canines had been under Orrin’s supervision, though her kennel license allowed a maximum of 30.

Welsh alleged that unsanitary conditions were a problem at the site, and he said that a dead horse was found there last year, while a severely underfed equine was seized from the property.

A dog also allegedly suffered mistreatment, Welsh said, but the circumstances weren’t clear.

He said the department is seeking animal abuse charges.

Orrin sent an email to authorities this week stating that she needed assistance clearing the remaining dogs from the property, resulting in the impoundment operation Thursday morning.

Twenty-one canines were rescued and placed in county shelters.

“Nine of the 21 dogs are microchipped, and animal services employees are reaching out to the presumed owners,” Welsh said. “Ten of the dogs appear to have been born at the property due to their ages.”

Agency Director Erin Gettis said that her team performed effectively despite the short notice and conditions at the former kennel.

“The owner could not provide care, turned over the remaining dogs, including two of her personal pets,” Gettis said.

According to Welsh, all of the impounded canines will be evaluated by veterinary staff. A hold will be placed on them, pending efforts to locate their owners.

“Staffers will also reach out to area military bases and other avenues to ensure a thorough search for owners,” he said. “Dogs remaining after this effort will be available for adopters and rescue organizations.”

Anyone with information was urged to contact the agency via

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