A Los Angeles Police Department investigation was continuing Tuesday into allegations of sexual assault and battery on a pit bull that was adopted from Orange County Animal Care in July and found dying in South Los Angeles about two weeks later.
“A crime report has been taken and a search warrant has been served,” LAPD Detective Al Erkelens, who leads the department’s Animal Cruelty Task Force, told the Orange County Register.
The investigation follows a request by Ghetto Rescue, a nonprofit Anaheim Hills rescue group, which called for law enforcement to look into the case after being notified of a dog found dying in a South Los Angeles neighborhood on Aug. 6.
The group responded and took the gray and white pit bull to a nearby veterinary facility, where the dog died a short time later. According to the organization, the dog had suffered vaginal trauma and her aorta had ruptured.
A chip on the 5-year-old dog showed she was adopted from the Orange County animal shelter on July 23, according to the group. The pit bull, named Valerie, had been in the shelter for three months and was adopted out when the Orange County shelter was offering free adoptions for animals who had been available for more than a week. Ghetto Rescue officials said they were unable to contact the person who adopted the dog.
OC Animal Care officials issued a statement saying they were cooperating with the police investigation, and said the unidentified person who adopted Valerie will not be permitted to adopt any more animals.
“The OC Animal Care shelter does not discriminate against those wishing to adopt unless they are suspected of or have been convicted of animal offenses,” according to the agency. “We utilize information about investigations from our own animal control as well as other law enforcement agencies to make this determination. We take the safety of all animals in our care seriously and, as a result of the circumstances surrounding Valerie’s death, the individual who adopted Valerie is now ineligible for future adoptions at our shelter.”
Erkelens said last week, “There are two possible crimes — bestiality which is a misdemeanor, and intentional injury to the dog that was meant to inflict pain, suffering or death to the dog. If (someone) did something to cause the aorta to rupture, that is a felony.”
Erkelens said his unit responds to less than 10 cases of bestiality a year.
“Sexual assaults with dogs does occur,” he said. “Most cases are reported either because they are seen or someone tells someone about it.”
Anyone with information about the case was asked to call the LAPD’s Animal Cruelty Task Force at (213) 486-0450.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: