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Walsh family sues over seized animals 

The husband of Cynthia Walsh, the woman who was convicted of animal neglect in a trial late last year, has filed a federal civil lawsuit against San Luis Obispo County, Sheriff Pat Hedges, and Animal Services Director Eric Anderson, seeking more than $1 million in damages.

The case, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, alleges that the county's 2005 seizure of 134 animals on the couple's property was unlawful. In the lawsuit, Harold Walsh says Animal Services should have returned the animals, which included 83 purebred dogs, to the couple instead of giving them away and charging the couple for boarding. Harold Walsh also alleges that sheriff's deputies wrongly examined weapons he had on the property and seized a rare high-capacity ammunition magazine.

A statement from the Sheriff's Department said that staff are reviewing the lawsuit, but notes that the animals were found living in "squalid conditions" at the couple's small home and that 13 dog carcasses were also found during the raid.

"This was one of the most disturbing cases our Animal Services Division has handled, and I have confidence in our Animal Services staff management of the case," Sheriff Hedges said in the statement.

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