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Neighbors rally against what they say is animal abuse, neglect in Lomita Village

The property owners say they have all the necessary permits to keep the animals and they're not breaking any laws.

SAN DIEGO — Neighbors in Lomita Village in the Skyline area are joining together to fight back against what they say is animal abuse and neglect.  

Fleas, flies, dog fights and barking in the middle of the night. These are just a few of the complaints these neighbors say they've been enduring for at least a year now. They say what the animals are suffering through, most of them husky mixes and cats, is a lot worse and needs to stop right now.

Eva Munoz has been neighbors with the Vargas family for more than two decades. She says she saw them grow up and now she says she sees what's become of their animals. 

"The smells of at a time, 27 dogs. They do not clean up after them. The dogs live in their own feces. We cannot have guests over because of the flies, the fleas and the smells. It's just not okay. The dogs howling at 3 o’clock in the morning. We have to work and we've gotten 2-3 hours of sleep because the dogs bark and howl. We have pages and pages of reports to San Diego Humane Society. We have pages to the city. They have done nothing," Munoz said.

When CBS 8 reached out to The San Diego Humane Society, we were told they are aware of the neighbor’s concerns about the animals on the property but wouldn't comment specifically about an investigation. The property owners say they have all the necessary permits to keep the animals and they're not breaking any laws. 

"We're tired. We're exhausted. We feel for these dogs. We want them rescued," Munoz said.

Grace DeMink says she drove from Alpine to Lomita Village to protest. "I'm concerned about animals. People have a voice. The animals don't have a voice."

Andrew Vargas is the animals’ owner’s brother. They let our cameras inside the home to see where the dogs and cats were kept for ourselves. 

The conditions we saw met county requirements. Earlier pictures and videos tell a different story. 

"They have them reproduce and they sell them, and these animals are just kept in cages. It's bothering me, it's bothering the neighbors and it's becoming a real nuisance. They feel like they're doing the right thing. They're taking care of them and they're feeding them, and I feel like there's some type of psychological issue within them," Vargas said.

Per the City of San Diego ordinance, if you have more than six pets, you’re considered a kennel and if you’re operating a kennel, you'll need a permit. The property owners say they have one - but the Humane Society wouldn't confirm that for us.

"We've tried to talk to the owner peacefully asking them to calm their dogs and they say, 'Stay out of my business!' So, they're not cooperative. It's just been not only a nuisance to the entire neighborhood, all the neighbors, but it's also detrimental to the life of the animals, the cats and the dogs," Posadas said. 

Posadas says they’re reaching out to Representative Juan Vargas for help next.

David and Sequoia Vargas, the owners of the animals both sent CBS 8 statements to comment on the allegations of abuse. Sequoia shared in her statement,

"Well as what was shown that obviously was not the case in my home All animals were well taken care for, there are multiple fans and a 15,000btu ac to keep them cool We work with the city, county and humane society and they had already approved everything 5 times documenting the babies living space and conditions.

They are all with flea preventions, each animal has flea collar and flea dips as well as tablets We go on hikes, we take them to the snow big bear and Julian We take them to the beach They are very active!

This situation is being wrongly escalated and twisted, due to the fact I have a brother-in-law and sister-in-law that does not like Black people and I married their younger brother They are constantly giving racial slurs including the N-word and other slurs telling me to be a slave He also refers to my family as “those people”

This has always been a problem with my husband’s family they would tell me that I was Fiona in her ogre state. They would tell me that they hate me and they would make sure my animals die or get taken.

My sister-in-law Nefris Palacios stolen 4 of my animals and my brother-in-law, Andrew Vargas killed seven of my animals by letting them outside to get hit by a car and told me that that’s what I get they’re better off dead then in the house."

David shared in his statement: 

"My response comes from a place of love, not hate. My wife and I hate to see animals suffer after all they are god's creation. We're providing the best care we can for them and I think everyone has an opinion as to what that might look like. My animals don't have a voice so I'm happy to speak for them, they love our home and they love being with us. We do not condone any hatred for our views and beliefs. We want everyone to respect that we are having complications having children and to us these are our babies."

The San Diego Humane Society shared:

"San Diego Humane Society’s Humane Law Enforcement has an open investigation into this location. While we cannot comment on specifics related to Cardiff St San Diego, CA, here are the answers to your general questions:

Are there specific rules for how many pets someone can have?

That depends on where you live. Every city determines its own animal codes, and our officers step in to enforce them.

In the city of San Diego and in unincorporated areas, if you live in a residential zone, you’re limited to six dogs. Any more than that is considered a kennel.

If you are operating a kennel, you will need a permit.

City of San Diego adopts County of San Diego law for kennels.

Are breeders allowed?

Yes, as long as they follow licensing and permit requirements.

What requirements do they have to meet for breeding before they break the law?

  • Section 122065 in the California Health & Safety Code outlines the requirements a breeder needs to meet:
  • (a) Maintain facilities where the dogs are kept in a sanitary condition.
  • (b) Provide dogs with adequate nutrition and potable water.
  • (c) Provide adequate space appropriate to the age, size, weight, and breed of dog. For purposes of this subdivision, "adequate space" means sufficient space for the dog to stand up, sit down, and turn about freely using normal body movements, without the head touching the top of the cage, and to lie in a natural position.
  • (d) Provide dogs with a rest board, floormat, or similar device that can be maintained in a sanitary condition.
  • (e) Provide dogs with adequate socialization and exercise. For the purpose of this article, "socialization" means physical contact with other dogs and with human beings.
  • (f) Wash hands before and after handling each infectious or contagious dog.
  • (g) Provide veterinary care without delay when necessary.
  • Anyone who needs help caring for their pets can contact San Diego Humane Society for assistance."

WATCH RELATED: Animal Pad needs fosters for dogs still waiting at Ensenada shelter (July 2023).


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