Officers made a disturbing discovery at a Kern County Animal Control shelter last week. What's been described as a boxer-mix dog was found apparently mauled to death inside a kennel it shared with a pit bull.
Someone took a picture of it and sent it to 17 News. It has some wondering why a pit bull was sharing a cage with another dog.
Someone snapped the photo Wednesday at the Kern County Animal Control shelter in Mojave. It shows a brown pit bull standing in its kennel. In that same kennel, is a dead boxer-mix dog with a bloody wound on its neck.
"They had been together for a day and a half before the incident happened with no problems," said Kern County Animal Control Director, Jen Woodard, of the two dogs.
Woodard says this is the first incident of its kind she knows of since she took the position in October. At that time, Woodard decided to integrate the pit bull-type dogs, once isolated, into the general population to try and get them adopted.
"And, one segment of the population that's getting equal notice are the pit bull-type dogs. So we have integrated them, so it doesn't mean they are all being paired," said Woodard.
However, some like Donna Ruiz with the non-profit group, Alpha K9, question the pairing program.
"It was an accident waiting to happen and maybe it should have been thought about a little bit better," said Ruiz.
Ruiz believes the apparent mauling could have been prevented if all large breeds were kept separate. She says many times, officers don't know the dog's history and the added stress the shelter creates does not help.
"You don't know their background so pretty much they are putting them, just like a jail. You are putting a regular offender with an offender that's a murderer. Something bound is going to happen. And, it happens in the jails just like it does in the shelters. I mean, you don't know the history and you don't know what this animal has been against," said Ruiz.
Woodard says with up to 100 animals coming in each day to the shelter, separate kennels for all is impossible. But, officers evaluate every dog individually before it's paired with others of comparable size. In this case, Woodard says neither dog had acted aggressively before.
"Of course, we are devastated. We don't want to put animals in danger. We don't want people to be in danger. That's the last thing we want to have happen," said Woodard.
Woodard says since no one was there to witness what happened, they've scheduled a necropsy on the dog that died. The pit bull has since been put down. And, at this point, there are no plans to change the current procedure of pairing dogs as seen fit.