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Authorities seize 30 pets from Menifee home

June 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Authorities seized more than two dozen pets from a Riverside County home Friday and their owner could be facing charges over the conditions inside the house.

Twenty-six dogs, two cats, a frog and a parakeet were found at the home in Menifee, a small city south of Perris.

Animal control officers say they were living in filthy conditions.

"The house is covered in feces," said Monqunec Middleton of Animal Friends of the Valleys. "It's a typical hoarder house in the sense that there is trash everywhere, piles of debris."

The animals are temporarily being kept at the Ramona Humane Society in San Jacinto while a judge determines if they are to be adopted out. An older dog that was suffering from a tumor had to be euthanized.

AFV officers had tried to access the home for months after receiving several complaints about loud barking coming from in and around the property.

The home's owner, identified as 44-year-old Traci Murray, refused their requests each time.

"This lady was hiding these dogs," Middleton said. "On multiple occasions we have spoken to her. She would every time say 'I have six dogs, I'm babysitting two. I have four,' because she knows the law. She knows she is only allowed to have four dogs in the city of Menifee."

Child Protective Services and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department went to the home Friday to check on a child.

The child was removed from Murray's care and animal control officers were called in to take the animals. The home was also tagged by city health officials.

"This is definitely not the worst we've seen," Middleton said. "We've been in worse when we find dead animals. There were no dead animals found inside this home. Usually in a hoarder situation you're going to find dead animals."

Murray is suspected of child neglect, animal cruelty and operating an illegal shelter. She has not been charged so far.


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