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Litter of puppies and mother found at eradicated illegal marijuana grow site in Cuyama Valley

A litter of puppies and their mother were discovered by Sheriff’s investigators at one of the eradicated illegal marijuana cultivation sites in the Cuyama Valley.

Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office investigators received a report on Oct. 3, 2018, of two adult dogs who were abandoned and staying at one of the sites that had been eradicated.

Sheriff’s deputies and Santa Barbara County Animal Control officers went to the property and found the male and female dog. They noticed that the female dog appeared to have just given birth. Soon after, they located an “unsecure tent” on the property and inside a litter of newborn puppies, authorities say.

The mother of the puppies appeared to be in good shape. She had given birth to ten puppies, one of which was stillborn, according to Hoover. Deputies and Animal Control officers loaded the two adult dogs and all of the puppies into an animal services vehicle for transport. While in transit, the mom gave birth to another healthy puppy and she delivered a final, 12th puppy about an hour and a half after being checked into the Santa Maria Animal Center.

The puppies will stay and be cared for at a foster home the Animal Center found until they are old enough to be adopted. The puppies’ mother will stay with them in foster care. She will also be available for adoption. The puppies will not be available for adoption until early December, Hoover said.

All puppies and their mother are being cared for by the Santa Barbara County Animal Services in Santa Maria.

“Mom is taking exceptional care of her puppies. The puppies are nursing well and are growing fast. They have already grown since they arrived,” said Stacy Silva of the Santa Maria Animal Center.

The male dog is doing well and will remain at the Santa Maria Animal Center through his stray holding period and then will be available for adoption, added Hoover.

If you are interested in adopting either of the adult dogs or the puppies, please go to and complete an adoption interest survey. All applications will be reviewed and the dogs and puppies will be placed appropriately.

The Sheriff’s Office says they will go after any illegal marijuana cultivation sites within Santa Barbara County with the goal to stop the illegal cultivation of cannabis and prevent the environmental crimes associated with these illegal grows.


On Sept. 26, 2018, detectives served a search warrant at a rural property in the 8300 block of Foothill Road in the Cuyama Valley. There they found a large marijuana grow with several camping trailers. Authorities say no suspects were found but they located evidence the suspects had been there within the past day.

A small puppy was also discovered lying on a pile of plastic surrounded by fertilizers and hazardous materials without food or water in 90-degree temperatures. The Sheriff’s Office says the puppy was slow to respond and lethargic. They say there was also evidence that the pup had been vomiting.

The Sheriff’s team destroyed approximately 1,200 marijuana plants at the Foothill Road location.


Based on the pup’s deteriorating conditions, quick-thinking detectives obtained permission from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff/Fire Air Support Unit, being used for the illegal marijuana eradication operation, to take the puppy back to Santa Maria where he was cared for by a team of animal professionals, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Shelter veterinarians say the pup, later named “Bud,” may have ingested cannabis. They cared for Bud before transferring him to PETS Hospital for observation. He was returned to the Santa Maria Animal Center the following morning as a bright, playful, happy 3-month-old puppy, said Stacy Silva, Community Outreach Coordinator for the Santa Maria Animal Center.

Bud was adopted by one of the detectives that rescued it.

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