Two dogs, a Chihuahua and a Yorkshire terrier, have been killed in an animal shelter break-in at Jurupa Valley, in Riverside County, California. Another dog, a German Shepherd, was later found dead about a mile away from the facility, after it had been hit by incoming traffic. 12 more dogs are still missing from the animal shelter located at 6851 Van Buren Boulevard, south of Limonite Avenue.
The gruesome discovery was made at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, when the shelter is normally closed to the public, but staff still has to come clean the place, feed the animals and perform other job duties. The dead animals were found in a kennel and in the building’s parking lot, and workers were shocked to see blood smeared all over the walls.
It appears that someone entered the shelter by force, and vandalized 22 kennels, with the help of bolt cutters. The culprit purposefully released more than 40 dogs, and left several broken padlocks in a stack inside the building.
It is unclear how the animals have died, since their wounds don’t seem to be consistent with those caused by other dogs biting them. It appears therefore that the injuries weren’t inflicted by animals.
The terrier was microchipped and had been left at the animal shelter on Saturday night, whereas the Chihuahua had no identification tag and was considered a stray. The chief veterinarian from the Riverside County Department of Animal Services will examine the two dogs, in order to determine their cause of death.
“This is pretty stunning for us. Sometimes, someone might want to break in to get their dog out without having to pay impound fees or fines, but I don’t recall anything like this”, declared the department’s spokesperson John Welsh.
It is believed that the crime was committed between Saturday night and Sunday morning. According to surveillance cameras, the break-in was orchestrated by a man dressed in dark clothing, but it is unclear if his face might be distinguished based on the video footage.
Currently, an investigation is under way, and animal shelter employees are collaborating with the Riverside Country Sheriff’s Department to discover the person guilty of trespassing and animal cruelty.
A $20,000 reward has been offered by a group of 5 animal welfare societies, to anyone who might provide authorities with information related to the identity of the culprit. Those who might help authorities to advance their investigation and make an arrest are urged to call 951-486-2800.
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