Raid reveals animals in ‘dungeon-like’ barn

Couple to be charged with abuse, neglect
By: Joyia Emard Gold Country News Service
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At least 13 neglected dogs and dozens of farm animals were rescued Tuesday when the Humane Society of the Sierra Foothills conducted a raid at a Loomis property, according to Rosemary Frieborn, Humane Society officer. Senior Humane officer Curt Ransom spearheaded the investigation and said, “I don’t know how any of the dogs survived. It’s dungeon-like in the barn.” Ransom said one dead Chihuahua was found in a trash bag. He said the barn containing the dogs had no light or air circulation, no food and only “putrid water.” He said 80 to 90 percent of the barn was covered with feces. Frieborn said many of the animals were “living in their own filth.” Ransom said officers armed with a search warrant, along with a large animal veterinarian and a general veterinarian, plus animal rescue volunteers from five different organizations, spent hours at a home located on acreage at 5359 Citrus Colony, in Loomis. The animals are owned by Jenifer Gabor and Lajos Isztojka, who rented the property. Ransom said they will be charged with violating penal code 597.1, which Ransom said is the “neglect and abuse code.” The couple refused to comment Tuesday. Frieborn said veterinarians examined all animals on the property and all were seized. She said the animals suffered from “failure to provide veterinary care and failure to provide adequate food.” “Some are malnourished, some injured,” Frieborn said. The raid continued into Tuesday evening, but Frieborn said 13 dogs and puppies — including great Danes, German shepherds and Chihuahuas — that were closed up in sheds for breeding purposes, were rescued. She said five pigs, 19 sheep, 46 goats and a cockatiel were also being rounded up. “We are in need of some foster homes for dogs and pigs. And we need donations to help with this rescue,” Frieborn said. Frieborn said the seizure was the biggest rescue operation with the largest range of animal types in the area that she can recall. Frieborn said Humane Society officers were acting as a result of a complaint they received in June followed by an investigation of animals being sold on Craigslist. Undercover investigators bought a sheep that was sick and they were able to nurse it back to health. Ransom said the animal owners will have 14 days to pay for the cost of the seizure, including the cost of veterinary care and exams, and hauling and boarding the animals. He said if they don’t pay, the animals will be considered “abandoned” and will be available for adoption. He said within the next week a report will be submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for possible prosecution and fines. Frieborn said donations can be made at Journal correspondent Kim Palaferri contributed to this story.