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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Woodland Hills

Dogs' Owner Must Reimburse City $7,000

September 29, 2000|GRACE E. JANG

Dozens of dogs seized from a Woodland Hills home earlier this month will be transferred for adoption unless the owner reimburses the city the $7,000 it has cost to care for them, officials said Thursday.

Authorities took 70 dogs from the home of Ivan Callais after neighbors complained. Callais said he was only keeping the dogs overnight.

"It's a detriment to other animals coming through this facility," said Richard Felosky, manager of the West Valley Animal Shelter. "We have to turn them away because we've got nearly 70 dogs already here. And guess what happens to those dogs who are turned away and don't get adopted? They have to be destroyed."

The city plans to pursue charges against Callais for animal cruelty and operating a kennel without a license, Felosky said. Felosky said the dogs will be "taken by humane groups all over Southern California."

Callais said he needs more time.

"I just don't have that kind of money," said the Woodland Hills resident, who also said he was notified of the sum about a week ago. "Why won't they give me more time to raise it?"

Callais was planning to take the dogs, many of which were abused or neglected, to an animal shelter he said he recently opened in San Luis Obispo. Earlier this month, he had gathered them in his Woodland Hills home "just for a night--not weeks, like some people say" before driving them up to his new shelter.

But when he left to get a truck, some of them had escaped. Panicked neighbors saw dozens of dogs roaming the street and called animal control. Officials found nearly 70 dogs in Callais' house.

"In hindsight, this wasn't a brilliant idea," Callais said. "I'm not saying I did everything by the book. I just want to get my babies out."

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