Feb 9, 2012: Accused Animal Hoarder Officially Charged With Animal Cruelty
by Kimberly Foley
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- An arrest warrant has been issued for Duain Preitz, the Rosamond man found with 215 dogs on his property in January. Preitz was arrested on Jan. 6 after Animal Control seized the animals from his property.
While he was taken into custody, Preitz was never charged with anything until Wednesday.
After all the animals were taken from Preitz's home, a makeshift shelter was set up at the fairgrounds while Kern County Animal Control assesed each and every animal and then submitted their case to the District Attorney...
..."We've seen this case before," said Yraceburn. "We've had several other hoarding cases that we've prosecuted here. This office has been very diligent about it. So this is just another one of those we're taking very seriously. Kern County is not a haven for hoarders to be in."
As of Wednesday night, the arrest warrant remains outstanding. If convicted of all seven charges, Preitz could face a maximum of five years, eight months in jail..." More & video
Kern County Animal Control officials and private rescue groups struggled Monday to care for scores of animals brought in over the weekend from a self-styled rescue center in the Mojave west of Rosamond.
The caretaker -- Duain Preitz -- was arrested on suspicion of felony animal cruelty after officials found more than 200 animals, most of them dogs, suffering from neglect, dehydration, malnutrition, illness and injury.
Most of the dogs were taken to the Kern County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield where a frantic effort was underway to treat them.
Officials said Preitz, 61, had been facing an eviction order and called authorities last week for help with what he described as 125 animals.
What animal control officers and staff of the Bakersfield Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found when they got to Preitz's remote rescue property west of Rosamond was a haphazard compound full of 215 animals as well as an undisclosed number of deceased animals
Interim Kern County Animal Control Division Manager Ron Brewster said the mission to evaluate the animals immediately turned into a criminal investigation when officers saw their conditions.
He said a total of 15 animals needed immediate medical attention and were taken Friday to a veterinary office for critical care.
"We could not wait to get the animals off the premises," said Julie Johnson of the Bakersfield SPCA.
But officials struggled with what to do with the rest of Preitz's collection, including horses, cats, ducks, chickens and a pig.
"We thought we could contain them on site," Brewster said.
By noon Saturday, after several animals were injured in fights and some escaped the property, Brewster said it was clear that another solution was needed.
So a massive relocation effort was organized and around 165 dogs were captured, loaded into cages and trucked from Rosamond to a hastily-erected shelter at the Kern County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield.
"We had about four hours to prepare a temporary shelter for 165 dogs," said Kern County Animal Control officer Nick Cullen.
Over the weekend Kern County Animal Control workers put in overtime hours, after their regular jobs at the county shelter on South Mount Vernon Avenue, caring for the animals at the fairgrounds. The fowl, horses and cats are being kept at the shelter.
Johnson said the ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States were contacted and are mobilizing assistance to deal with the situation and find solutions for caring for the animals.
Superior Court records show that an eviction order had been issued against Preitz because he owed $22,250 in back rent at his Best of Buddies animal rescue operation near Rosamond..." MoreMore: http://www.turnto23.com/news/30172373/detail.html