Two people are suspected of breaking into a Jurupa Valley animal shelter on Sunday and stealing three dogs.
A deputy responded to the shelter Sunday morning and took a report after employees discovered the missing dogs and broken locks, Riverside County Animal Services said in a news release.
Two of the dogs were previously kenneled together in one building at the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter at 6851 Van Buren Blvd., and a third dog was kenneled alone in a different building.
Surveillance video shows two people trespassing about 2:30 a.m. and leaving with the dogs off leash toward a back area of the campus, the agency said.
Animal Services said it is believes the dogs were stolen by the presumed owner and his accomplice, possibly a woman. All three dogs were in protective custody kennels after they were impounded on April 21 following an incident that involved a dog bite.
When an Animal Services officer arrived at the Jurupa Valley location where the reported bite occurred, one dog was roaming off leash and two were tethered to a fence near an RV. No one was present.
“In the interest of public safety and since the animals did not have food or water, he impounded all three dogs,” the agency said.
An officer went to the same location Sunday, but the RV was not there.
“Public safety is paramount in an instance of a dog bite,” Animal Services Director Erin Gettis said. “We had knowledge that one of these dogs committed a bite. It is unclear which of the three bit the victim, so we must impound all three in the interest of doing a proper quarantine.”
State law requires animal control agencies conduct a bite investigation anytime an animal has bitten a human. A 10-day quarantine period is required.
Animal Services is working with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and provided surveillance video of the trespassing and theft.
Sunday’s theft is the second in less than four months, as a man is suspected of stealing his dog on Jan. 28 as well. Animal Services provided sheriff’s investigators with the video surveillance and other evidence in that incident too. That investigation remains ongoing.