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Elderly Poway Yorkie hoarders arrested for animal abuse

92 dogs were found in feces-filled home
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Posted at 11:04 AM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-28 14:30:26-05

SAN DIEGO — An elderly couple who hoarded 92 Yorkshire terriers and mixed-breed dogs in a Poway home filled with feces have been arrested and charged with multiple counts of animal abuse, the San Diego District Attorney's office announced Tuesday.

Christine Calvert, 62, and Mark Vattimo, 73, face 10 counts of felony animal abuse and neglect and one misdemeanor count of resisting an officer.

"The shocking conditions and sheer number of animals in the defendants' home make this a particularly disturbing case of animal abuse," District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said in a statement.

Many of the dogs had "severe matting, feces entangled in their coats, skin issues, ear infections, fleas, hair loss, overgrown nails and poor teeth," the DA said. "One dog was missing part of its leg."

The DA's office said Calvert had fled San Diego in a motorhome and was taken into custody in Primm, Nevada on Feb. 24. There were additional dogs in her possession and they were transported to San Diego yesterday. 

She waived extradition in a hearing held in Clark County today and will be returned to San Diego where she'll face charges.

Readers may remember that the San Diego Humane Society took in the Yorkies, rehabilitated them and then held a special online adoption lottery. The organization received more than 1,800 applications in 24 hours and had to stop accepting applications.

"Hoarding is a mental illness and we have compassion for individuals who suffer from the disease," said Stephen MacKinnon, chief of humane law enforcement for the Humane Society.