Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Update: Rescued Lancaster Animals Need Help and Homes

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
Your donation today keeps LAist independent, ready to meet the needs of our city, and paywall free. Thank you for your partnership, we can't do this without you.


Just two of the many dogs found this past weekend on a Lancaster ranch. Photo by Laura Gunn

Over the weekend we told you about the 400 animals rescued from a Lancaster ranch, and the need for help with donations or adoptions to save the many abused and neglected animals. One of the volunteers who was at the ranch helping with the rescue, Laura Gunn shared with us an update and the photos she took of some of the dogs who were found there--many of whom still need good homes.

Although when the rescuers arrived to retrieve the animals this weekend the ranch owner could not be located and was not identified, we have since learned that the man's name is Ivan Callais, a repeat-offender of animal abuse. Gunn explains: "He had been collecting animals from shelters and from good hearted people who were looking to send animals to a rescue organization [...] The rescue organization he was supposedly running was called Saint Francis Animal Sanctuary. He seems to be a cross between a hoarder and a puppy mill." Furthermore, Callais has apparently fled from the ranch, as "he's disappeared and no one knows where he is."

Support for LAist comes from

Members of several animal rescue organizations participated in the removal of the animals from the site, including many dogs that had been clearly traumatized and neglected and used for breeding. The dogs are now in the ownership of Toni Eakes, who is the founder of A Wish for Animals, and the non-profit based in Orange County is in need of financial help to help cover the expenses of caring for the animals, as well as quality adoptive pet-parents.

For more information about helping out by donation or adoption, contact Eakes via A Wish for Animals. LAist has more of Gunn's photos from the ranch this weekend after the jump.


A heartbreaking set of eyes looks beyond the fence | Photo by Laura Gunn

Gunn explains (via Flickr):

Support for LAist comes from
I took these photos in Lancaster, CA on Jan 19 and 20, 2008 at the site of one of Los Angeles' worst animal cruelty cases. Over 400 animals were found in horrible conditions. There are roughly 200 dogs there as of Jan 19th, many of whom still need homes or foster care. Many have been abused and are emaciated and in need of love. I tried to get photos and capture a bit of the spirit of as many of these amazing animals as possible and at the end of the day Sunday, had photographed quite a few. Fortunately some have found homes, but it is safe to say that the majority of dogs in these photos still need homes.

Despite the horrific amount of abuse many of these dogs have endured, in the two days I visited, I was never once bit, nipped, or even growled at. I was in nearly every single cage with almost all the dogs at close range and never felt unsafe. I hope that these deserving and wonderful dogs all find loving and safe homes.


Three of the dogs found over the weekend | Photo by Laura Gunn

Drinking puddle water was the only option for many of the animals | Photo by Laura Gunn

Support for LAist comes from

A pointer mix peeks out of its doghouse | Photo by Laura Gunn


This is a pitbull who is the father to 5 babies of a black lab | Photo by Laura Gunn


This dog was in the larger open area | Photo by Laura Gunn

Support for LAist comes from

According to Gunn: "This dog was very shy but then would bark when you walked away. I think that she was just secretly sad that her friends were leaving." | Photo by Laura Gunn

The full set of photos are viewable via Flickr and are used here with permission