A Poway couple who kept more than 180 Yorkshire terrier and Yorkie-mix dogs in filthy conditions in their home and other locations were sentenced Tuesday to three years probation and prohibited from owning any animals for 10 years as a result of their felony convictions.
Mark Vattimo, 72, and Christine Calvert, 62, pleaded guilty last month to a pair of animal abuse charges.
As part of their plea agreement, the defendants won’t face additional custody, but will have to undergo treatment and counseling and will transfer title of a 31-foot motorhome valued at $82,000 to the Humane Society as restitution in the case.
Vattimo and Calvert can apply to have their felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors after 18 months of successful probation.
“We want to make sure that this couple gets the help they need, and in the meantime don’t own, possess or care for any animals,” said Deputy District Attorney Karra Reedy.
All of the dogs seized from the defendants were saved, but people who adopted some of the Yorkies said the dogs are still suffering from physical and behavioral problems, Reedy told reporters.
Reedy said the Humane Society got a report in January from a concerned veterinarian about the condition of dogs that were being kept in an unsanitary dark room filled with feces, urine and mice at the defendants’ home.
Officials from the Humane Society went to the residence but were initially denied entrance, Reedy said. A few days later, they were allowed in and 94 dogs were removed from the defendants’ home over six to eight hours, the prosecutor said.
Twenty-nine dogs were subsequently taken from a restaurant the couple owned and nearly 50 dogs were seized from the motorhome when Calvert was arrested in February in Primm, Nevada.
All of the dogs that were seized from the home had health problems, including ear infections, dental problems and severe matting. It was not clear why the couple had so many dogs in the residence.
–City News Service
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