The Marin Humane Society shut down an animal rescue group's San Rafael operations and seized 19 animals for treatment after uncovering "shocking conditions" at the center.

The Milo Foundation was forced to close its adoption center and animal holding site at 2060 Fourth St. on Friday, one day after an unannounced early-morning inspection by the Marin Humane Society. The inspection uncovered health and safety violations including triple the number of dogs and cats allowed at the site, animals living in their own feces and untreated for contagious diseases and inadequate staffing or medical supervision, Humane Society officials said.

"It was overwhelming," said Capt. Cindy Machado of the Marin Humane Society. "After witnessing shocking conditions for the animals at Milo in San Rafael, we issued a directive to the Milo Foundation that operations at its San Rafael facility must stop immediately."

Machado said last week's inspection was in response to complaints of mismanagement at the San Rafael site. In July, she accompanied an inspection of the foundation's sanctuary in Willits by the Humane Society of the United States that uncovered similar animal health and safety issues of inadequate housing and lack of care. That inspection was prompted by complaints from former sanctuary staffers.

The findings resulted in Humane Society officials meeting with foundation representatives "to address long-term plans for Willits and improve conditions there," Machado said.

Lynn Tingle, Milo's executive director, disputed the allegations, although she acknowledged the San Rafael center had more dogs on hand than its city permit allowed. She said the foundation was in the process of requesting the city to update its permit to allow an additional 10 dogs on site.

"I disagree with their findings," said Tingle, of Berkeley. "I just think there's a big difference between animal control and animal rescue. We're about saving lives. We're going to fight this."

Machado said there were about 30 dogs and 20 cats at the site on Thursday. The use permit issued by the city of San Rafael allowed for 10 dogs and 25 cats, she said..." More