ORANGE (CBSLA) — As more than 130 dogs were taken out of an Orange home — in deplorable conditions — it appears the owners of the property were animal hoarding and lost control.
Some close friends of the couple say they had no idea what was going on inside the home.
Officials said conditions inside the home were so deplorable – feces, urine, fleas – that the residence had to be red-tagged.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Stacey Butler reported from the Animal Care Center in Tustin where the rescued dogs were taken.
The facility, she reported, was already at capacity. As the 136 dogs are being cared for, more details are emerging about Jo and Edward Reitkopp, the couple who owned the home.
“I don’t think anyone saw this coming,” said her friend Mike Simpfenderfer.
Edward Reitkopp works for a prominent law firm. Jo Reitkopp worked for NBC.
Simpfenderfer says he met Jo when she created Make California Great Again, a group that campaigned for Donald Trump in 2016.
“When people have something that happens,” he says, “hopefully they can share what caused it. And then more importantly, what do we do? How can we make something good out of something that’s not so good?”
Simpfenderfer said he knew Jo loved dogs.
“She has a heart that fills this whole room,” he says.
He told Butler before he makes any judgements, he wants to hear the Reitkopp’s side of the story first.
“It’s very surreal,” he says, “you step back and go — can this happen? We’ll find out. I always believe that no matter how difficult, the justice system does find its way to the truth. Hopefully, Jo and her husband will be able to speak and share with us what was going on, so we can learn.”
OC Animal Care is now inundated with donations for the dogs.
“We’ve had a lot of public who has reached out,” says Jessica Novillo of OC Animal Care, “They want to help. They want to support us. It’s really awesome to see. But the best way to do that is to adopt and if you can’t adopt, to donate.”
A lot of people have made inquiries about trying to adopt the rescued pooches, but OC Animal Care says they’re not ready just yet. They want to spread the word that if people want to adopt a pet, to adopt one of the dogs they already had waiting for a home.