Woman’s Death Leads to Discovery of More Than 100 Animals Inside Stockton Home

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STOCKTON -- A seemingly never-ending line of dogs were removed from a Stockton home on Ledgewood Avenue Friday in response to a hoarding case neighbors and animal services officials consider highly unusual.

“Didn’t think it was that bad. I seen them pulling animals out since like 7 o’clock this morning and that’s ridiculous,” said neighbor William Trott.

“But to this extent, this is rare for our area,” said Phillip Zimmernan, director of Stockton Animal Services.

Zimmerman said police were called to this home around 4 a.m. Friday for a medical call. A 51-year-old woman and a man were taken to the hospital, the woman died. Her death led to an investigation.

“One thing we notice when we walked up it sounded like three or four dogs inside the house," Zimmerman said. "It didn’t sound like there were 50 plus dogs inside the house."

Zimmerman said once they were inside the home they found 88 dogs, mostly terriers and chihuahuas, including two dead puppies. They also found 12 cats and a turtle.

“The conditions of the home are not ideal for animals to be living in, and definitely not for this amount of animals,” Zimmerman told FOX40.

The animals were examined, vaccinated and a given a little love before they were placed in vehicles.

“So, surprisingly enough, they do appear to be healthy and well fed," Zimmerman said. "Some needed some grooming.”

Despite the deplorable conditions, Zimmerman said they’re not looking to cite the man who still lives at the home. They hope to help him.

“We’ve already spoken with the animal owner and it appears to be a case of just trying to do right thing and just got out of hand, and there’s probably some mental health issues,” Zimmerman said.

As for the dogs, cats and turtle they’ll be getting new homes. Most of the animals will have a chance at a better life. Some of them will go to rescue organizations, the rest will be evaluated and then may be adoptable.

Zimmerman added the owner will be allowed to keep three animals and that their department will make sure they’re vaccinated and fixed.