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Sweep Operation Snares 38 Stray Dogs

October 25, 2022

Citations Issued in Coachella Valley’s Eastern Areas

Riverside County animal control officers impounded 38 dogs today in a sweep operation in the Coachella Valley areas of Mecca and North Shore.

Conducting such sweeps is an unfortunate but necessary public safety operation for Riverside County Animal Services, said Field Services Commander Josh Sisler.

“There are many children in these communities and these sweeps are imperative to ensure the children are safe as we near Halloween,” said Sisler, who joined his team of officers during the sweeps. He said the first roundup occurred at about 6 a.m. near a school bus stop in Mecca where children were already present.

“We have too many dogs roaming freely,” Sisler said. “Some of these dogs exhibit a feral nature and form packs. We know how excited kids get on Halloween night for trick-or-treating fun. Protecting the community, especially children, is a top priority.”

The sweeps are often performed twice a year during the autumn when morning temperatures are lower. A large team of animal control officers is needed to prevent dogs running away into the open desert. A similar team of officers collected 17 dogs in the North Shore area in late September.

All the dogs impounded today are now at Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms. In addition to the impounds, 23 citations were issued to owners for various infractions, including their dog being off leash, failing to license their dog or provide a rabies certificate and failing to microchip their pet.

Oftentimes a person’s dog has gotten out from broken fence lines. Officers have made repairs to such fences as part of Animal Services Healthy Pet Zone programs.

Director Erin Gettis said she is hopeful such sweeps won’t be needed as dog owners become more responsible.

“It’s important for dog owners to consider their neighbors and keep their pets inside their properties,” Gettis said. “Not only is it the right thing to do, but a dog can cause a serious injury to a person and that places the dog owner at legal risk.”

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