|Tuesday, 24 November 2009 00:00|
CHIHUAHUA CANAL DUMPING CASE UPDATE:
Essay Contest Will Help Decide Nemo’s New Home
Hundreds of callers from around the country energized the Riverside County Department of Animal Services’ phone lines all day long Tuesday.
Many callers wanted to add to the $500 reward amount for information leading to the animal-cruelty conviction of the person or persons responsible for wrapping electrical tape around two Chihuahuas and dumping them in a canal near downtown Riverside. One of the two dogs perished from the barbaric act. Other callers expressed interest in adopting the Chihuahua that survived the terrible ordeal.
A city Riverside Public Utilities employee discovered the half-submerged Chihuahuas early Monday during a routine debris inspection of the canal. Fred Ehemann, a senior water system operator, cleans the metal grates along the canal’s route near Riverside Community College. He said he was shocked by Monday’s grisly discovery.
“I started to pull some weeds and I saw the dead one on the right first,” Ehemann said in a statement released by Riverside Public Utilities. “Then I saw the other poor little dog on the left who was still alive, so I grabbed her and lifted her out of there.”
Ehemann quickly called the Department of Animal Services for assistance. He removed the electrical tape for the survivor and gave her some water.
“She was thirsty and she liked that,” Ehemann said. “She kept looking up at me and sighing. I put some rags down on the front seat of my truck and she fell asleep again until Animal Services came.”
Animal Control Officer Kristina Hillegaart scooped up the survivor and her unfortunate companion and rushed them to the Riverside Animal Shelter. “This was just complete malice,” Officer Hillegaart said. “Someone was just looking to be cruel.”
Registered Veterinary Technician Kasey Littlefield examined the female. The dog is about 3 years old, possibly 4, and weighs about seven pounds. She reported the dog appeared very tired but was otherwise doing well. She placed it in a special, heated kennel near a veterinary work station for close observation.
“This is just disgusting that someone would do something like this to innocent, defenseless animals,” Animal Services Director Robert Miller said immediately after hearing of the incident Monday morning.
A reward for any knowledge leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible has already been established by Riverside County's Riverside Shelter charitable organization known as ASK (Animal Solutions Konnection). The reward is now at approximately $2,000 – possibly more – as more callers keep expressing interest in adding to that amount.