More than 50 dogs were cleared for adoption in Orange County on Tuesday nearly a month after officials seized more than 140 Shih Tzus from a home in a gated community in Orange.
The remainder of the dogs will be released in the "near future" following the first round of adoption, according to the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
Authorities responded to a two-story home in the 3800 block of East Woodbine Road on May 30 after receiving reports of animal hoarding, Sgt. Phil McMullin with Orange police said.
Police and O.C. Animal Care found well over 100 dogs in the home, McMullin said. They red-tagged the house due to unsafe conditions and took the animals, the sergeant added.
Officials issued misdemeanor animal cruelty citations to the residents, attorney Edward Reitkop and Republican political activist Jo Reitkopp, Orange police said.
Mike Kaviani, director of O.C. Animal Care, said the dogs now up for adoption are those “ready to be in a loving home, to continue to receive the TLC that they deserve.”
Because the case made headlines, Kaviani said the agency has received an outpouring of offers to take the Shih Tzus.
Those who wish to take them home are asked to fill out an application online rather than visiting a shelter facility. However, the application process was paused Tuesday afternoon due to overwhelming demand. The application page was expected to be operable again Wednesday.
Adopters will also have to sign a medical waiver, Kaviani said.
“We’ll be working with each individual adopter to make sure that they’re aware of some of the potential history of medical challenges that may exist given the conditions,” he said.
Those interested in the dogs seized in the case will have to pay the full fees. Citing overcapacity at the shelter, O.C. Animal Care said it's currently waiving fees for all other pets available for adoption.
Visit ocpetinfo.com for more information about adopting the Shih Tzus.