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Published 12:00 am PST Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B1
Placer County animal services officers have seized a dog belonging to Sacramento Kings star Ron Artest on suspicion of failure to adequately feed the animal.
Animal Services officers issued a "pre-seizure" notice to Artest on Jan. 30, warning that they would take Socks, a black female Great Dane, into protective custody if the situation was not remedied, according to a county report obtained by The Bee.
On Monday, officers returned and seized Socks, citing a law that requires animal caretakers to "provide proper sustenance." According to the post-seizure report, Artest can request a hearing within 10 days of the notice date.
In an e-mail message sent to The Bee late Tuesday night, Artest said, "I'm glad to say all problems are solved now, and I'm looking forward to getting my dog back."
County spokeswoman Anita Yoder said the Great Dane is in the care of a local veterinarian. She declined to elaborate further except to say that officers are continuing to investigate.
The president of the homeowners association for Artest's gated neighborhood said Tuesday that animal services had been to the Artest residence prior to January.
Allan Frumkin, who heads the Sierra Ridge Estates Homeowners Association, also said residents have come to him with concerns about the welfare of dogs kept at Artest's home.
"That says two things: One, there's some nice people here," Frumkin said. "Two, those dogs weren't being properly cared for."
Artest said in his e-mail that when he left last week for a road trip, "my dog watcher was feeding both my dogs and my American bulldog dominated all the food."
When he got back, Artest said, "I realized Socks lost a lot of weight. So I immediately isolated Socks in a separate room in my garage to eat and gain some weight back."
The next day, he said, animal control officers took the dog.
"The other times my dogs were escaping the half-acre gated area I had for them, and the animal police would always bring them back," Artest said.
The basketball star and aspiring rap artist moved into his home in the Sierra Ridge Estates, an exclusive neighborhood of 18 homes in rural Loomis, in the spring of 2006.
Artest purchased the property last February for $1.85 million, according to property records. The 6,571-square-foot house includes five bedrooms, four fireplaces and a five-car garage, records show.
Artest told The Bee during a July interview that he loved his new 5-acre property. He also said he kept seven large dogs there, including a bull mastiff, a Great Dane and a pit bull.
In the summer of 2006 -- Frumkin said he can't remember which month -- the association president was driving by Artest's home and saw that Animal Services was there.
Frumkin said homeowners began coming to him with reports of perceived neglect of Artest's dogs prior to that Animal Services visit.
"They seemed starved for attention and starved for food," Frumkin said neighbors told him.
The allegations have so upset neighbors that a committee revising the association's rules decided to include a new stipulation that residents must properly care for their animals.
"These are really nice people that live out here," Frumkin said.
"We don't like to see this type of thing go on."
Association members are scheduled to vote on the new CC&Rs, including the animal care clause, on Sunday.
About the writer:
- The Bee's Kim Minugh can be reached at (916) 321-1038 or email@example.com. Staff writer Sam Amick contributed to this report.
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