An Irvine woman was arrested and now faces multiple felony charges for animal abuse after officers searched her property and found several dogs with their snouts taped shut.

On Saturday, the Irvine Police Department received a tip from a concerned resident regarding several dogs who were heard whimpering on the patio of the home of 21-year-old Gabriela Barrera.

The resident told police that there were also multiple dogs whose mouths were taped closed.

Officers responded to the home and observed one dog with heavy duty masking tape wrapped around its snout on the outside patio. They also reported hearing whimpering in the same area.

As they investigated, Barrera arrived home, at which point she admitted to taping the dogs’ snouts to keep them from barking or biting at other dogs.

She agreed to let officers search her home, where they found a total of seven dogs — three female adult dogs, two male adult dogs, a female puppy and a male puppy.

Gabriela Barrera, 21, of Irvine, is shown in this photo provided by the Irvine Police Department.
Gabriela Barrera, 21, of Irvine, is shown in this photo provided by the Irvine Police Department.

Three of the dogs had their snouts taped closed, and it was estimated it had been done about two hours prior to officers arriving on scene.

“Contractor-grade” masking tape was also found inside the home, which investigators said matched the tape found on the dogs’ snouts.

On Tuesday, Barrera was arrested and transported to the Orange County Jail to await three charges for felony animal abuse. She was released the following day on zero-bail, jail records show.

The seven dogs, believed to be husky/German shepherd mixes, were taken from the property and evaluated. Aside from their snouts, each dog appeared to be in decent health, police said.

The dogs will continue to be held until the case against Barrera is resolved.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is urged to contact Irvine Animal Services Officer Al Gonzalez at 949-724-7087.