July 3, 2022

136 dogs rescued from ‘Uninhabitable’ multimillion dollar OC mansion

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By Laura Goldman From Care2

From the outside, the multimillion dollar mansion in Orange, Calif., looked no different than the others in the exclusive gated community. But outside the front door, the stench of feces and urine permeated the air. Wearing hazmat suits for protection, police and animal control officers entered the mansion on May 30 and rescued 136 Shih Tzu and Maltese dogs from what officials called “uninhabitable” living conditions.

The dozens of dogs, ranging in age from puppies to seniors, were covered in feces, urine and fleas. Some were missing patches of fur.

Despite the filthy conditions, the homeowners, Edward and Jo Reitkopp, were apparently living in the house with the dogs. Edward is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law. Jo has campaigned for Donald Trump and is CEO of the nonprofit Make California Great Again, whose goal is “to turn California from BLUE to RED,” according to its website.

The conditions in which she and her husband kept those 136 poor dogs, described by authorities as “deplorable,” are making a whole lot of people see red.

“There was very little furniture inside that residence,” Sgt. Phil McMillan with the Orange Police Department told CBS Los Angeles. “And there was dog excrement, urine, all over, inside on the floor. It appeared to be unlivable. The smell was unbearable for me. I’m surprised how people could live in that situation.”

Not only were the Reitkopps hoarding dogs, but they had apparently made a profit by selling some of them, as well. A neighbor told CBS Los Angeles she had been told Jo Reitkopp was a breeder and bought a Shih Tzu puppy from her for $1,500 a decade ago. Unsurprisingly, the dog had many health problems and died just four years later.

The police found out about the situation inside the Reitkopp’s mansion from an anonymous tipster (who truly deserves a reward). The couple is now facing animal cruelty and other charges to be determined after an investigation is completed.

The 136 dogs were taken to Orange County Animal Care, where they’ll be looked after until they can be adopted into loving homes.

“They’re safe now,” Director Mike Kaviani told the Orange County Register two days after the dogs were rescued. “They’re being taken care of and getting one-on-one attention, medical attention, love and comfort.”

As for the dogs’ owners, Edward Reitkopp has been told not to return to work until further notice. “We have many animal lovers at the firm who are troubled by the reported conditions and hope that all the rescued dogs are safe and healthy,” his law firm, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, said in a statement released to local news media.

There’s no word yet on whether Jo Reitkopp will remain the head of Make California Great Again. A co-worker, Michael Simpfenderfer, told the Orange County Register she has “a huge heart” and is “overly generous.” Mmkay, but if those 136 dogs could talk, I have a feeling they might strongly disagree.

Here’s one way to truly make California great: send animal abusers like the Reitkopps to prison for a long, long time. And no matter where you live, adopt, don’t shop.

To find out how to help Orange County Animal Services care for the rescued dogs, check out its website.

For more on this story go to; https://www.care2.com/causes/136-dogs-rescued-from-uninhabitable-multimillion-dollar-oc-mansion.html

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