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Authorities search for man suspected of abandoning 10-year-old dog at Hemet-area supermarket


Last updated 1/26/2018 at Noon

This man, caught on surveillance video inside a Hemet-area Stater Bros., is believed to have abandoned a 10-year-old Chihuahua just outside the store, officials say. Courtesy photo.

Authorities are asking the public’s help to find a man suspected of abandoning a 10-year-old Chihuahua at a supermarket near Hemet last week, animal control officials say.

The man was caught on surveillance video Jan. 19 unloading a pet carrier and placing it in a planter at the Stater Bros. supermarket at 43396 Florida Avenue after purchasing items there, according to a news release from the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

A Stater Bros. employee discovered a dog inside the carrier and told his manager. The manager then reviewed surveillance footage and contacted authorities, according to the release.

“This was a tough one,” responding officer Kyle Stephens said in a statement. “He was so timid at first, so I didn’t get a chance to interact with him. It is somewhat strange that someone would abandon an older dog, after presumably caring for it for its life. Regardless, it is very sad and it’s also a crime.”

Animal services officials say the dog is healthy, but does need some dental work. He’s currently being cared for at the San Jacinto Animal Valley Campus.

The dog is not up for adoption, officials say. Whether he will be is dependent on the results of a cruelty investigation.

The man left in a blue compact car, possibly a ford, officials say.

Animal Services has been working with Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigators and providing them with photo evidence from the store, including the man’s compact blue car and a license plate. However, the license plate appears to belong to another car.

“Our investigation needs the public’s help,” Animal Services Commander Chris Mayer stated. “The plate may be bogus, but this man must be driving this same car. Also, the in-store cameras captured a clear image of the man. So we’re hopeful someone knows where this person is so we can make contact and, ultimately, interview him about his actions that day.”

Willful abandonment of an animal is considered cruelty and can be charged as a misdemeanor, according to the release.


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