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PLACERVILLE, CA - El Dorado County officials confirm they're investigating an unlicensedanimal shelter operated by anonprofit foundation.

The Kid Ranch Foundation occupies 12 acres on Big Cut Road just outside of Placerville and the foundation's website seeks donations to build a sanctuary it says would unite abused kids with abused dogs.

"It's a nonprofit and it's a business, but there are no kids and there's no kid ranch," said Scott Rocheleau, a former volunteer who lived on the property for four months.

There were, however, at least 17 dogs living in the modular home in cages and crates when Rocheleau left last week.

"The overall treatment of the animals is disgusting," Rocheleau said."There's never been water in the crates in the four months I lived there. They go out twice a day for maybe two to eight minutes tops to go to the bathroom."

At Rocheleau's invitation, Placerville dog groomer and animal advocate Jennifer Nixon visited the home while he was still living thereand took several pictures showing what the pair claim is neglect.

"I think it is less than satisfactory. Absolutely," Nixon said.

Maggie Williams, spokesperson for El Dorado County Health and Human Services, which oversees animal services, confirmed the county had received a complaint about the foundation and that it was actively investigating.

Kid Ranch Foundation vice president Vicki Ellis would not allow News10 on the property, but she admitted they've had some problems.

"Mistakes have been made," Ellis said. "We are still learning. We are still new at this."

Rocheleau and Nixon arranged to have nine dogs removed from the property on Wednesday, and Ellis said the rest would be gone by next week.

Ellis said the foundation's long-range goal is to build a proper shelter on the property -- but for now, they're out of the animal rescue business.

"Yes sir," she insisted.

by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net

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