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Animal Rescue Team Presses On

Posted: January 23, 2008 1:14 p.m.
Updated: March 25, 2008 2:01 a.m.
LANCASTER - About 100 dogs found among 400 in need of urgent attention last week are still being fed and cared for by Gentle Barn workers and volunteers.

More than 300 of the rescued dogs and other farm animals including poultry and goats have been placed in "foster homes," with other animal agencies or with owners outright, Gentle Barn founder Jay Weiner told The Signal on Tuesday.
The 100 dogs that remain at the Lancaster site on West 70th Street at Avenue D appeared timid and forlorn, but fed.
"The dogs are fine now, because they're fed," Weiner said.
Behind a banner that reads 'A Wish for Animals' and a phone number, the dogs were all kept in 10-foot square pens, attached in a grid and separated by dirt aisles that provided access to each pen.
A deputy at the Lancaster Sheriff's Station said Tuesday that they are still trying to locate the dog breeder who's been identified as Ivan George Callais Jr.
Trouble at the ranch began a month ago when the property's landlord reportedly told Callais to vacate the premises, according to Sherry, a woman who works with horses at a neighboring ranch on property owned by the same landlord.
"He wasn't really friendly," she said about Callais. "But, he cared for those dogs. He fed them before he fed himself. ... he was always carting away waste.
"When he left, Ivan left two women in charge."
Sherry said Callais was in the habit of buying ripped bags of dog food that stores were unable to sell.
About three weeks ago, a woman named Toni took over operations at the dog-holding ranch, Weiner explained, but soon ran into difficulty keeping it going.
On Jan. 14, Toni apparently asked for Gentle Barn's help, he said, showing The Signal a written letter bearing the signature of "Toni," granting him and his volunteers permission to enter the property and care for the animals.
"It just got out of control for her," Weiner said. "She couldn't handle it."
On Saturday, The Signal reported the eyewitness accounts of Gentle Barn workers who first responded to the dog-breeding ranch.
They described the conditions as deplorable, reportedly having found the carcasses of at least two dogs in wheelbarrows and the remains of ducks found in the mud and the remains of chickens in dog cages.
Other animals found on site included 30 cats, 40 chickens and turkeys, 100 goats and sheep, a Llama, an Emu, a pregnant horse, three potbellied pigs and a 600-pound farm pig.
On Tuesday, as Weiner explained his team's rescue efforts, over the constant barking and walking through the grid of cages, pointing to the remaining dogs, he said he is very grateful to the Santa Clarita Valley residents who responded to his call for aid.
"The response has been very helpful," he said.
As he talked, volunteers carted bags of donated dog food from cars to a command van stocked with other donated supplies.
Other workers were seen feeding dogs water with a hose through their fenced cages, feeding them food by hand and toting bales of hay.
Weiner said the dogs could still benefit from continued support.
Anyone wishing to volunteer in helping deal with the remaining dogs can contact The Gentle Barn at (661)-252-2440.


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