According to the county, a man in Cathedral City visited the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms requesting assistance. He told workers he would likely get evicted if he didn't reduce the number of dogs at his home.
Crews took all 37 dogs, mostly Chihuahuas, to their shelter where they all underwent medical exams and received vaccinations. Thirty-one of the dogs have been sent to a partner organization called Never Forgotten Animal Society in Pahrump, Nevada.
Four of them got to stay with the man as his personal pets after they were spayed, neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. The remaining two dogs will stay at the shelter for special care, according to officials.
"This was a situation where someone clearly needed our help, asked for it, and we provided him help," said Jackie Schart, an animal services chief who oversees operations at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus. "This was not an animal cruelty situation. This was a situation where someone clearly was overwhelmed with unaltered dogs that continued to create litter after litter."
Schart said specialized grant funds, specifically from a fund known as the Healthy Pet Zone, will assist the man with any spay and neuter surgeries and vaccinations.
"Instead of being punitive, the approach here was to be helpful," Schart aid. "People need to have faith in us to help when they reach out to us. We do really want to help people. They just need to ask."