IRVINE (CBSLA.com) — Nine puppies from a phony dog rescue have been nursed back to health and will be made available for adoption starting Wednesday.
The adoptions will be handled like a lottery. Anyone interested in one of the pups must fill out paperwork from the Irvine Animal Care Center at 6443 Oak Canyon from noon to 1:30 p.m., Irvine police's Kim Mohr said. The lottery will be at 2 p.m.
(All photos courtesy of the Irvine Police Department)
The nine dogs were among 19 puppies in Megan Ann Hoechstetter's possession at the time of her arrest. The 42-year-old woman was charged Monday with 20 counts of keeping an animal without proper care and two counts of animal abuse by a caretaker, all misdemeanors, according to Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Malone.
Hoechstetter allegedly set up the fake rescue online to sell dogs she may have gotten from Mexico that did not receive proper care, Mohr said. One of the business names she allegedly operated under was "Pawlosophy."
Several families from across Orange County had reported receiving puppies from Hoechstetter's rescue that quickly got sick. Eleven animal deaths were linked to Pawlosophy.
When police went to arrest the Hoechstetter at a hotel in Cypress, they found 13 puppies, which were taken to the city's animal care center for "much needed care," Mohr said.
Hoechstetter is accused of "puppy flipping" over the past few years, getting the puppies in Tijuana and charging adoptive families about $450 for each one, Malone said. But the joy of having a new puppy turned into a fight to save their lives, as some families spent as much as $7,500 in veterinary bills.
Ultimately, 30 puppies either succumbed to their illnesses or were euthanized, Malone said.
Hoechstetter is scheduled to be arraigned April 28. She could face up to 12 years in jail if convicted at trial.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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