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Animal Services Officer Picks up Service Dog at Hospital

An Animal Services officer responded to a call Thursday night to pick up a county resident’s dog after the man was transported to a hospital to be treated for the novel coronavirus.

It marks the first known pet that Animal Services is caring for that was related to the COVID-19-related hospitalization of a resident.

Initially the man was at a hospital in Ontario. He was later transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center for care. His service dog could not be accommodated by the hospital and the man does not appear to have any family members in the area.

Officer John Hergenreder responded to the Ontario hospital to retrieve the dog, a 7-year-old, female shepherd mix. The dog was then placed in a special kennel run at the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley.

Animal Services Director Julie Bank said she and her team members created plans to assist residents if they were hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment.

“We were already prepared to handle situations, such as this, by creating kennel spaces specifically designated for COVID-19 patients’ pets,” Bank said. “Our team members are also following strict guidelines to stay safe with personal protection equipment.”

Bank said she was proud of her team to be ready for such circumstances. She also said she was honored to care for this man’s pet since he is also a veteran.

“He served our country and we take pride in serving him in his time of need,” Bank said. “We certainly hope that he can fight this virus successfully. We look forward to the day he can reunited with his beloved dog.”

The man is a Jurupa Valley resident in his 70s. Animal Services will not be charging any boarding fees while it cares for this dog. The man applied with Riverside County Animal Services for a service tag and Dr. Allan Drusys, the county’s chief veterinarian, granted that request in April 2018.

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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