Three dogs were taken from the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley following a break-in at the facility, and the canines’ owner is a suspect, authorities said Monday.
The burglary and theft occurred about 2:30 a.m. Sunday at the shelter, located in the 6800 block of Van Buren Boulevard, according to the Department of Animal Services.
Agency spokesman John Welsh said that the three canines — two pit bull mixes and a husky mix — were led away from the shelter by two people who forcibly accessed two separate “custody kennels,” breaking locks to get inside.
The suspects — a man, presumed to be the owner, and an accomplice, who may have been a woman — left the premises after taking the dogs toward the back of the property, Welsh said, referring to security surveillance.
It was unclear whether the suspects left in a car that may have been parked nearby.
No identities were disclosed.
According to Welsh, the dogs were impounded Thursday during an investigation into a dog attack resulting in a bite wound in Jurupa Valley. An animal control officer found two dogs tethered at a recreational vehicle, but another one was roaming free, and none had food or water, the animal services spokesman said.
“Public safety is paramount in an instance of a dog bite,” agency 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.”
The canines were under a 10-day impound required under state law.
Welsh said it was the second break-in and theft within the last four months at the shelter. The previous burglary occurred in January and may also have involved an owner seeking to get his dog back.
Sheriff’s deputies are handling the investigations.
No arrests have been made.