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Bloody Animal Shelter Break-In Leaves Four Dogs Dead, Seven Missing

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A suspect broke into a Riverside County animal shelter, leading to the death of four dogs, and leaving behind a bloody scene.

At some time between Saturday night and Sunday morning, someone broke into the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley and cut the locks on 22 kennels, reports KTLA. When an employee arrived at the shelter around 6:30 a.m. Sunday, he found a grisly scene of blood-splattered walls, two dead dogs—a Yorkshire terrier and a Chihuahua—and dozens of dogs out of their kennel running around the property. And while authorities are still trying to determine the cause of the deaths, they have determined that they did not die of attack wounds from bigger dogs.

“We found blood spatter everywhere,” John Welsh, spokesman for the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, tells KTLA. “There were some blood markings that were about 3 feet off the ground. We don’t know exactly what caused that, but we don’t suspect that an animal jumped into the air and caused that blood spatter.”

A German shepherd—first thought to be missing—was later found dead about a mile away after being struck by a vehicle. A fourth dog was found dead on Monday morning from the same cause. Thirteen dogs were initially reported missing, but following the discovery of the two that were rundown and four that were located, seven dogs remain missing.

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Surveillance footage shows the suspect—believed to be a man wearing dark clothing—breaking into the shelter.

"But who might have done this? In our world we deal with a lot of angry people," Welsh tells the L.A. Times, explaining that sometimes pet owners get upset about impound fees, while others are angered if they are part of an animal cruelty investigation. "In the animal sheltering business, we have a lot of people that don’t like us."

Several local animal welfare groups have offered a $20,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.

Riverside County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the incident as a trespassing and animal cruelty case. Anyone with information related to the case is urged to contact the Jurupa Valley sheriff’s station at (951) 955-2600.

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The incident follows a string of horrible chemical attacks that have burned at least nine dogs in the Antelope Valley.