A Poway couple, accused of hoarding more than a hundred Yorkie dogs inside their homes and a restaurant pleaded guilty Monday, confirmed prosecutors.
Christine Calvert, 62, and Matt Vattimo, 73, will be placed on three years of probation at their sentencing on July 11, said prosecutors.
Deputy District Attorney Karra Reedy said it's most important that the defendants get help, in order to make sure this never happens again.
The defendants must undergo counseling and are not allowed to own any pets, as part of their plea agreement. They also will transfer the ownership of a 31-foot motorhome to the Humane Society as restitution in the case, said prosecutors.
After 18 months of probation, Vattimo and Calvert may apply to have their felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors, according to Superior Court Judge Kathleen Lewis.
Back in January, the Humane Society received a report from a concerned veterinarian that suggested the Poway couple was keeping 180 dogs in deplorable conditions. The dogs were kept in dark, unsanitary rooms filled with feces, urine, and mice at the defendants' home.
When Humane Society officials went to the scene, they were prevented from entering the home, said Reedy. After a few days, they were able to come in and 94 dogs were removed from the defendants' home within the next eight hours.
Later, 29 dogs were also seized from a restaurant the couple owned and nearly 50 dogs were taken from a motor home when Calvert was arrested last February in Primm, Nevada, according to prosecutors.
It was unclear why the couple kept so many dogs in terrible conditions, Reedy said. All the animals had health problems, ranging from ear infections to severe matting.
The couple was charged with 10 felony counts, including animal abuse and neglect, and one count of resisting an officer.
The dogs were placed in the care of the San Diego Humane Society.
More than 1,500 adoption applications were submitted for the Yorkies, prompting the organization to close the adoption process earlier than planned.