California couple pleads guilty after more than 170 dogs were found in their home


A California couple has pleaded guilty to hoarding more than 170 Yorkshire terriers and Yorkie mix dogs in mice-infested, filthy conditions that one attorney has described as a “disturbing case of animal abuse.”

Christine Calvert and Mark Vattimo, of Poway, entered pleas Monday to animal neglect. They face probation and counseling and can’t own pets for a decade.


Investigators who went to their Poway home in January found dozens of dogs in a dark room. The floor and walls were covered in excrement, and the dogs had a variety of problems, including fleas, poor teeth, overgrown nails and matted hair.

One dog was missing part of a leg, Fox 5 reported.

“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 had said in February.

About 30 dogs were seized later at another location and another 46 were found in a motor home in Primm, Nevada, where Calvert was arrested after fleeing the state.

The dogs — including puppies born to some of the animals — were put up for adoption.

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