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Senior Suffering Cognitive Decline Surrenders 72 Canines in Cabazon

A Cabazon senior suffering cognitive decline surrendered more than 70 canines to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, which impounded the dogs Wednesday with the help of personnel from animal rescue organizations.

“This was an example of someone who was truly in need of our help,” Department of Animal Services Lt. Lesley Huennekens said. “The daughter (of the senior) inherited a very troubling situation. She did the right thing by seeking our guidance and assistance.”

The dogs’ owner, identified only as a Cabazon woman in her 80s, had been keeping all 72 of the small pooches inside her residence, and her daughter was left to make the decision on their fate due to her mother’s decline, according to officials.

The woman reached out to the Department of Animal Services for help.

Animal control officers enlisted the assistance of staff from three pet rescue organizations with which the county has worked in the past, agency spokesman John Welsh said.

He said all but one of the terrier mixes went to the nonprofits.

A video of the transfer operation is available here.

“The staff did a great job coordinating this unique situation,” Department of Animal Services Director Erin Gettis said. “These can be overwhelming problems for family members to deal with, so we’re here to help.”

“Our only hope is that, if possible, relatives do as much as they can as early as they can to prevent a situation like this from getting out of hand,” she said. “Spay and neutering could have prevented much of this situation significantly.”

The dogs were well-fed and did not appear to be suffering from major health defects, Welsh said.

He said that one, a Chinese crested terrier, was adopted immediately by an animal control officer.

The status and availability of the other dogs wasn’t immediately known.

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