LOOMIS – Dogs owned by Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest have spent a total of 77 nights at the pound since July because of poor care by their owner, costing the NBA star $1,942 in boarding and impound fees, county records show.
Placer County animal control officers have gone to Artest's five-acre estate seven times in that period in response to callers' complaints about dogs being loose or not being fed.
Allan Frumkin, president of the Sierra Ridge Estates Homeowners Association at the gated community where Artest lives in Loomis, about 25 miles northeast of Sacramento, said some neighbors stepped in and cared for the dogs themselves.
"It became general knowledge that he wasn't taking good care of his dogs," said Frumkin. "One neighbor fed them and bought a watering machine for them."
The latest incident came last Sunday, when animal control officers took Artest's Great Dane, Socks, saying the animal wasn't being fed.
"This dog was a rack of bones," said Rosemary Frieborn, president of Friends of Placer County Animal Shelter.
In an e-mail to The Sacramento Bee, Artest said he hopes to get Socks back and has hired a new caretaker for the dogs. He blamed Socks' condition on the fact that another dog, an American bulldog, "dominated all the food."
He said the situation "got out of hand" when he was gone for a seven-day Kings' road trip. "Then we got back and got a handle on it.
"I have a new professional doggy watcher from out of state that will help me train my dogs better," he wrote. "I'm horrible at that.
"I love my dogs and think they should be able to live (as) freely as possible."
Artest has had as many as seven dogs on his property, but at least two have been killed and others have been sent to live in Indiana, he told the newspaper.
Artest's publicist, Heidi Buech, declined to comment to The Associated Press.