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San Joaquin County Dog Rescuer Forced To Shut Down

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STOCKTON (CBS13) – She made it her mission to rescue dogs. Now, her shelter near Stockton is being shut down and she’s desperate for help.

Kay Cortese and her daughters have been rescuing animals for more than a decade and never had problems until now.

“We need to find homes for these dogs and we need to find them soon,” she said.

Time is running out for Kay and her animal rescue Mended Hearts. She has about two weeks to find homes for a eight dogs, including a pair of puppies.

“The guy was going to go to the shopping center and dump them in the parking lot,” she said.

She saved the pups, provided medical care and now they are ready to be adopted.

“We rescued and re-homed 12-25 dogs a month and now I don’t know what they are going to do,” she said.

Someone complained about barking dogs and San Joaquin County code enforcement came knocking.

Kay didn’t realize she needed a kennel permit to house abandoned dogs and can’t afford to get one.

And now, she’s forced to shut down the small operation nestled in rural San Joaquin County.

“People think dogs will fend for themselves,” she said. “They can’t.”

While Kay scrambles to find homes for the remainder of the rescue dogs, she can’t help but wonder what will happen to the ones she will be forced to turn away.

“What am I supposed to do?” she asked. “When I go to the gas station and see one hiding behind the dumpster, should I just leave it there?”

She hopes to reopen but can’t afford the thousands it will cost in permit fees. Her main goal right now is adopting out the animals.

The rescue group also saves horses, goats and other livestock. Those animals are allowed to stay.

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