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Nearly 60 animals seized at 'death trap' in rural San Diego County

December 2, 2011 |  4:51 pm


Fifty-eight animals in the rural community of Campo were seized Friday by San Diego County sheriff's deputies and animal services officers in a raid on a small ranch that one animal services officer called a "death trap."

The animals included goats, sheep, llamas, cattle and horses. Many of the animals were sick, were on the verge of starvation and had overgrown hooves, investigators said.

On Nov. 9, animal control officers had found nine dead goats and a dead llama on the same property. Necropsies determined that the animals had probably died of starvation.

The owners were given a warning about the remaining animals but apparently were not following through on their promises to provide better feed and care, according to Lt. Dan DeSousa of the county Department of Animal Services.

"We were not going to allow these animals to remain and suffer the same fate as the others," DeSousa said.

The animals were taken to a county-run facility in Bonita. Investigators are gathering evidence and will present a report to the district attorney about possible animal cruelty charges against the property owners, DeSousa said.

Deputies and investigators allowed several dogs, several chickens and a pig to remain. "But we'll be monitoring to see how they are doing," DeSousa said.

Campo is an hour east of downtown San Diego. The owners were not home at the time of the raid.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: One of the animals seized in Campo. Credit: San Diego County Department of Animal Services