Two Men Broke Into Shelter, Stole Three Dogs
Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man suspected of breaking into the county’s shelter in Jurupa Valley and stealing three dogs.
The man, Tymothy Burns Whitney (DOB 9-20-01), is one of two suspects in the Sept. 14 break-in and trespassing that resulted in three missing dogs from the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter. He was arrested on Friday (Sept. 16).
The second suspect remains at large and the dogs are also still missing. All three dogs were confiscated on Sept. 3 after a report that the animals were involved in a serious attack in Jurupa Valley at a homeless encampment near Van Buren Boulevard, north of 56th Avenue.
A man suffered a bite to his arm and ultimately sought medical help at a nearby hospital. The initial report described the attacking dog as a grey pit bull. The victim was not cooperative and would not say which dog bit him, so Riverside County Animal Services impounded two grey pit bulls.
The officers discovered a third dog in a crate and could not see any food or water and, concerned for the dog’s health, impounded that one, too. The third dog is a husky-German shepherd mix. All three dogs are believed to be owned by a woman the two men know.
The dogs were being kept in quarantine and Sept. 13 marked the tenth and final day for the quarantine period. Essentially, the dog owner could have legally reunited with her pets prior to their theft. The dogs were stolen at about 4 a.m. Sept. 14.
“There wasn’t a need for these two men to take matters in their own hands,” said Josh Sisler, commander of the Field Services Division, whose officers work closely with sheriff’s deputies on such investigations. “This bite, although serious, would not have prevented the owner the opportunity to get her pets back.”
Animal Services Director Erin Gettis said if the owner of the dogs worried about board and care costs, she could have spoken to an employee about those concerns.
“Our department has a long history of working with people experiencing homelessness and we often use grant funds to assist those individuals with financial hardships,” Gettis said. “We have a long track record of working diligently to reunite all pet owners with their beloved animals. These situations do not have to result in theft, causing chaos and stress to our other shelter dogs in the middle of the night.”