JURUPA VALLEY (CBSLA.com) — Three dogs are dead and at least 13 are missing from a Jurupa Valley animal shelter on Sunday after someone broke into the facility, authorities said.
Locks were found broken on Sunday morning at the Riverside County Animal Services’ main shelter in Jurupa Valley at 6851 Van Buren Blvd.
John Welsh of the Riverside County Department of Animal Services said a person or people broke in on Saturday night or early Sunday morning and released the dogs, apparently on purpose.
CBS2’S Adrianna Weingold said someone used bolt cutters to intentionally cut22 locks on kennels. More than 40 dogs were released.
The two small dogs found dead were not killed by other dogs, authorities said. One of the dogs, a Yorkshire Terrier, was micro-chipped and allegedly just dropped off at the shelter on Saturday by a Good Samaritan.
“There was blood everywhere, pools of blood,” Welsh said. “There was blood on cinder block walls, and high up, too. Three feet off the ground.”
The department’s chief veterinarian will examine the dogs to determine the causes of death.
A third dog, a German Shepherd, was found dead down the road apparently hit by a car.
Sheriff’s deputies investigated the scene and reviewed surveillance footage to try and get an image of the suspect or suspects.
“This is pretty stunning for us,” said Welsh. “Sometimes, someone might want to break in to get their dog out without having to pay impound fees or fines, but I don’t recall anything like this.”
Jurupa Valley resident Joel Hernandez brought his young sons to the shelter. He and the boys are looking for a dog and was horrified when he was told what the suspect or suspects had done.
“It’s appalling,” he said, “you expect a shelter to be a place where animals take refuge. And they find two dead and a bunch of them missing? That’s not very heartwarming at all.”
Weingold said two separate rescue groups have combined to offer a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)