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Veterinarian Performs Surgery, Saves Critter

JAN. 22, 2016 – A Riverside County Animal Services officer responded to a call this morning about an opossum with arrows penetrating its body.

The officer found the animal in a western section of Riverside and was surprised to discover it was still alive, despite two cross-bow arrow bolts that had struck it. The animal was located near Hole and Jones avenues in Riverside’s La Sierra neighborhood.

Animal Control Officer Jennifer Selter rushed the opossum to the county’s Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley, where a staff veterinarian immediately began surgery to try to save the animal. One bolt penetrated the animal near its right eye and followed through the other side of its head. The second bolt went through its right side and also punctured through the other side of the animal.

Animal Services Director Robert Miller called the actions callous and despicable. “No animal, whether it’s a domesticated dog or cat, or a part of our wildlife, deserves to be treated in such a cruel manner,” Miller said. “Anyone who has any information about who might have done this is encouraged to contact us. This is a sick act.”

Sgt. Cynthia Lee of Riverside County Animal Services observed the animal when it first came into the treatment area of the county’s clinic. She said she knew some people may not share the same shock as her and her colleagues. “We know some people might say, ‘it’s only an opossum, what’s the big deal?’” Sgt. Lee said. “But we think anyone who purposely does something to any animal, causing it great pain, is wrong in the head.”

She said she felt terrible for the animal when she first saw it. “The animal was very alert and you could tell it was trying to remove the arrow bolts itself,” Sgt. Lee said. “The opossum was grabbing the arrow on its side. What a horrible thing to do to an animal.”

Dr. Megid Anwar successfully removed the arrows and examined the opossum afterward, and captured X-ray images to investigate whether the animal suffered any internal injuries. The good news is that the images only showed some slight damage to his lung tissue – but nothing that appears to be life threatening, Dr. Anwar said.

One sad note, though: The animal’s left eye did suffer damage and it was removed. Dr. Anwar and other veterinary team members are keeping watch over the juvenile opossum that they have nicknamed Robin, as in Robin Hood. He will eventually be transported to a rehabilitation center that specializes in observing and caring for such critters.

Anyone with information about this cruel act can contact Riverside County Animal Services at 951-358-7387 or

Contact a Shelter

Western Riverside: (951) 358-7387 (PETS)
San Jacinto: (951) 358-7387
Coachella Valley: (760) 343-3644
Blythe: (760) 921-7857

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