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Animal Services Opens Cruelty Investigation

Animal control officers seized 18 dogs from a property in Jurupa Valley Monday afternoon (Nov. 13).

All the dogs continue to receive care today, including one that required pain medications and other treatment. That dog, a 7-year-old female terrier mix, was being attacked by other dogs at the property on Chris Court. A concerned resident heard the commotion and contacted Riverside County Animal Services.

Officer Tiffany Fuller was given permission to view the situation from the property of the concerned resident. Officer Fuller noticed the injured terrier and then attempted to make contact with the property owner. She was unsuccessful in making contact. Officer Fuller alerted her supervisor of the dire situation and Sgts. Dylan Gates and Lorena Barron- Lopez responded.

Sgt. Barron-Lopez observed that the injured dog appeared to be suffering and needed immediate veterinary care. Officer Fuller also informed her that she was able to observe five other dogs that were living in horrid conditions. Those five dogs were crammed into a wire crate standing in their own feces. Other dogs were matted, suffered severe eye trauma, and some had feces stuck in their terribly matted coats.

Having observed such conditions, Sgt. Barron-Lopez instructed her team to seize the dogs. She left a notice at the property for the owner to contact Riverside County Animal Services. The owner has not called Animal Services.

Riverside Roaming Lizard is Reunited

Chopper the Crocodile Monitor Heads Home

Chopper the 4-year-old crocodile monitor is now back home.

Chopper’s owner, DeWitt “Goldie” Vercher, of Riverside, reunited with his scaly buddy Friday at the Western

Riverside County/City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley.

It was an adventurous week for Chopper. He ended up in a backyard of an Arlington South neighborhood home in Riverside’s western portion of the city. Christine and J. Craig Williams discovered Chopper atop a hedge in their yard on Wednesday afternoon and called 911.

A Riverside Police dispatcher contacted Riverside County Animal Services and Officer John Hergenreder handled the lassoing duties at about 5 p.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 1).

Animal Control Officer Snares Unwanted Visitor

There it was, lounging in the sun atop a sturdy hedge in a backyard in Riverside. The five-pound, 4-foot long crocodile monitor lizard rested casually as Christine and J. Craig Williams’ dogs barked and alerted the couple to the unwanted visitor.

“It was out there sunning itself,” Mr. Williams said.

Riverside County Animal Services Officer John Hergenreder responded to the Las Flores Avenue property shortly before 5 p.m. on Wednesday. He snared the lizard using a loop at the end of his control stick. “It did not try to escape when I walked up to it, but it did start to hiss loudly,” Officer Hergenreder said. “It sensed I was coming to grab it.”

Now the lizard is at the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley where it is being cared for properly. (It has its own holding tank in the part of the shelter known as Critter Corner.) The shelter will hold the exotic pet for a period to allow the rightful owner to claim his/her lizard. It is legal to own a crocodile monitor in California.

Kim McWhorter, a reptile expert at Riverside County Animal Services, described the critter as a crocodile monitor, a species her colleagues rarely come across when impounding exotic critters.

“Crocodile monitors are not usually kept as pets by private individuals,” McWhorter said. “They need specialized care, mostly due to the large size they can reach. An owner would need a custom-built, room-sized enclosure. We hope the owner realizes we have their pet now. People are accustomed to coming to the shelter if they lose a dog or cat, but don’t necessarily think of us when they lose a lizard.”

J. Craig Williams said he believes the lizard may have been at their property longer than they realized. Their two dogs, a 65-pound Labrador mix named Duchess, and a 12-pound Italian greyhound named Viggo, tried to let the couple know something strange was going on in the backyard.

“The dogs were really going nuts a couple nights ago,” he said.
It wasn’t until the suntan session on Wednesday afternoon that the jig was up for Mr. Lizard.

The owner should be prepared to show proof of ownership with purchase certificate, photos and videos or other proper identification. If an owner does not redeem the pet, it will be transferred to an exotic sanctuary partner.

THURSDAY, NOV. 2, 2017

One of our officers retrieved a red diamond rattlesnake from a swimming pool today. The snake was spotted late last night and one of our officers safely removed the rattler today. Officer Dane Ericson used tongs to remove the snake, then placed it a humane container. The officer’s next step, in the spirit of preserving wildlife, relocated the rattlesnake in a safe area nearby, but far enough away from homes.

So, did the home owner take any pool plunges while the scaly visitor was inside the pool? “No way!” said the resident, Sahan Warnakulasuriya, who lives on Angelica Court in an unincorporated area between Corona and Riverside. The Sri Lankan man said he’s very used to snakes, such as cobras. But he never thought he’d end up with a rattlesnake in his pool.

Here’s a short video clip I put together, thanks to some footage provided by Mr. Warnakulasuriya:

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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