A woman accused along with her husband of hoarding 96 Yorkshire terrier and Yorkie-mix dogs in filthy conditions in their home in Poway pleaded not guilty Monday to 10 felony animal abuse charges and a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest.
Christine Calvert, 62, remains free on $50,000 bail.
Deputy District Attorney Lucy Yturralde unsuccessfully argued that bail be increased to $255,000, saying the Yorkies were living in horrible conditions at the home of Calvert and her husband, 73-year-old Mark Vattimo, who is also free on bail.
The case came to the attention of law enforcement Jan. 10 when a veterinarian told authorities there might be dozens of dogs living in a dark room filled with urine, feces and rats in Poway. Another 29 dogs were found in a restaurant the couple owned, the prosecutor said.
Vattimo was contacted a week later, but Calvert took off in a motor home that Vattimo had bought for her with about 50 dogs inside, the prosecutor said.
In all, 169 dogs were seized. Calvert was arrested last month in Primm, Nevada. The prosecutor said Calvert may have been headed to Florida where she owns property.
All the dogs taken from the home had health problems, including ear infections, severe matting, and one had lost a limb, officials said.
“It was very clear that the animals were not being taken care of,” Yturralde said.
About 90 dogs have been adopted after being nursed back to health by the Humane Society.
A readiness conference is set for April 13 and a preliminary hearing for May 16 for both Vattimo and Calvert. Each defendant faces a maximum of nine years in custody if convicted.
–City News Service
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