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Officers Investigating Felony Cruelty Charges

Veterinary Care Not Provided for Injured Pup

FRIDAY, FEB. 3, 2023 – Animal Services officers are investigating a puppy’s death after it reportedly died from injuries caused by another dog.

The puppy was taken to a private veterinarian after an animal advocate bought it from the owner at a parcel of land being used as an apparent encampment. That Good Samaritan informed Animal Services on Jan. 10 about the puppy’s injuries and death, which led to the cruelty investigation.

The property where the puppy was injured is in 21400 block of Salter Road, in the southern portions of Mead Valley. Both the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and Code Enforcement have also responded to complaints about the property.

Necropsy lab results are pending. A necropsy will be used as the basis for seeking animal cruelty charges. Failing to provide veterinary care to an injured animal that results in death is a felony in California.

“The department takes cruelty investigations seriously,” Animal Services Director Erin Gettis said. “As with any investigation, we will follow all legal procedures required to be most successful. Any individuals who commit such acts must be pursued to the full extent of the law.”

There are believed to be more than the legal limit of dogs on the land, and Animal Services issued a notice of violation for failing to have a kennel on site.

Anyone caring for more than four dogs in unincorporated Riverside County must have a proper kennel license. Officers returned to the property Wednesday (Feb. 1) and the man relinquished ownership of six dogs, including three 4-month-olds.

“We want to ensure the public we have been to this property multiple times and many of the reports on social media have proven to be unfounded,” Field Services Commander Josh Sisler said. “We do not have evidence that the current circumstances merit immediate removal of the dogs remaining at this site. We cannot legally seize animals unless there are circumstances defined as exigent, per state law, which means urgent health or safety concerns.”

Even though six dogs were relinquished, Sisler said the investigation remains ongoing.

“We will continue to visit this property regularly to keep eyes on the dogs currently there,” he said.