More than 95 percent of the charge is to cover what county officials said were their costs to keep the dogs at a county animal shelter between their confiscation in November 2002 from Emma Harter's Acton home and their release to a Chihuahua rescue group in August 2003.
Antelope Valley Superior Court Judge Lisa Chung ordered Harter to provide financial information to the county probation department, where a financial evaluator will determine how much she must pay monthly during her five-year probation, Heller said.
The county could pursue the funds through property liens or going after wages, Heller said. Heller said he understood that Harter and her husband also own a house in Granada Hills.
Harter was convicted in March 2004 of one count of felony animal cruelty, and four misdemeanor counts: battery on an animal control officer, failure to separate sick animals, keeping animals in unsanitary conditions, and animal endangerment.
Harter avoided time behind bars at her sentencing last July but was barred from owning or possessing any animals for five years.
Los Angeles County animal control officers said they found dead and dying dogs among packs of half-wild Chihuahuas living inside her house. The dogs had dug burrows in the walls and furniture and formed feral packs that preyed on weaker dogs, they said.
Animal Control Lt. Sheri Koenig testified at the restitution hearing Friday that 235 Chihuahuas were seized, along with 61 birds. There also were 32 dead animals, mostly dogs, she said.
Of the 235 dogs seized, some died or had to be euthanized or were placed with other rescues, leaving the 174 that were released to a Burbank Chihuahua rescue group, Koenig said.
EMMA HARTER WAS HOARDING DOGS AS FAR BACK AS 1982
Harter said she began breeding Chihuahuas in 1982 when she was living in Granada Hills, where she got into similar troubles with Los Angeles city animal control officials.
She then moved to Acton in 1992 and obtained a kennel license. Within three years, she was caught with about 40 Chihuahuas living inside the home in squalor.
(LA Daily News - Feb 26, 2005)
- California: Puppy mill breeder/hoarder Emma Harter, 64, avoids jail by hiding most of her 40 Chihuahuas
- California: Animal rescue groups want ownership of vicious, feral Chihuahuas seized from breeder Emma Harter
- California: Puppy mill breeder/hoarder Emma Harter won't sign over dogs until she can wiggle out of the $500k she already owes the shelter
- California: In court, Emma Harter pleads not guilty to felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty
- California: Judge's Ruling Saves 170 Dogs - The Chihuahuas, taken from an Acton breeder last year, are to be released to a rescue group based in Burbank early next week.
- California: Feral dogs seized from an Acton breeder Emma Harter, accused of animal cruelty, are being released to rescue groups this week
- California: Chihuahua Animal Cruelty Case involving puppy mill breeder/hoarder Emma Harter, 72, to go to trial
- California: Emma Harter's animal cruelty trial begins as her attorney says she has raised Chihuahuas for 20 years and runs a commercial operation
- California: Emma Harter, 72, convicted of animal cruelty toward more than 230 dogs and 60 birds she forced to live in squalor
- California: Emma Harter, 73, Gets Probation for Forcing More Than 230 Chihuahuas and 60 Birds to Live (and Die) in Squalor