A Lakeside woman accused of failing to properly care for 63 dogs living in her home will meet with officials from the San Diego Department of Animal Services on Saturday to discuss her case after a judge ruled that 58 dogs seized in a raid can be put up for adoption.
San Diego Animal Services Lt. Dan DeSousa said that his department needs to figure out which dogs were actually boarded in Alice Via's home by their owners. Once that is determined, the department will to contact the owner to try to reunite them, DeSousa said.
On Thursday, a judge granted the department permission to find 58 of the dogs a permanent home. The judge also granted Via custody of three of her four personal dogs. One of Via's dogs, Maggie May, was euthanized after an Animal Services veterinarian diagnosed the animal with cancer, DeSousa said. He added that the dog was taken to several specialists to try to save its life, but doctors determined nothing could be done to save it.
Via has owned and operated San Diego Boxer Rescue for 17 years, according to her attorney Christopher Morris. She was regularly contacted by San Diego Animal Services to rescue animals from the shelter, Morris said. The attorney said his client was contacted two to three times a week to pick up animals from the shelter. He said she never turned them down.
DeSousa acknowledged that the shelter called Via for assistance but said that his department thought she had help placing the animals.
“The dogs were being kept in crates that were stacked at least two high throughout the home, and officers were told that the dogs were only let of the crates once a day,” DeSousa said.
Via’s home in the 1100 block of Morena Boulevard smelled like "urine and feces," DeSousa said, and although the dogs were fed, they may not have had water.
The pads of the canines' paws were injured from them "scraping the cages, trying to get out" and some had no hair, according to DeSousa. Many of the dogs had skin conditions, upper respiratory disease or other illnesses.
Animal services said they will wait until Via determines which dogs were being kenneled before putting the rest up for adoption. There are several rescue groups interested in helping the department find the dogs homes, DeSousa said.