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Stray Dogs Terrorizing Residents, Livestock in Rural California


Packs of aggressive stray dogs have overrun Anza, a remote Riverside County community in Southern California. The Los Angeles Times reports these dogs terrorize residents, livestock, pets, and even wild animals, causing fatalities and spreading diseases.

Last spring, a group of free-roaming canines — comprised of two Queensland Blue Heelers, three Labrador Mixes, and a Husky — killed a herd of goats and sheep in what officials described as a “bloodbath.” Shockingly, a pack of strays also attacked and killed a woman “in broad daylight” in 2018.

In fact, one Anza resident complained the stray dogs’ menace has worsened to the point she no longer walks along her road. She expressed fears of getting attacked by “bush puppies” while taking a stroll. According to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, these strays often hide in bushes. The department describes these dogs as “no joke.”

Officials say some of these dangerous dogs had owners, but they got loose and found themselves on the streets. Josh Sisler, a Riverside County animal control field services commander, knows this for a fact. He said they’ve captured several unleashed dogs whom they later discovered had microchips. 

Shockingly, most of the strays are unwanted pets dumped by their owners in Anza.

According to Sisler, the town’s remote location makes it a prime target for dog owners who want to abandon their pets. “Look around you. What better place to do something like that?” he stated. “You just pull up, open the door, and kick out the dog.”

Combating the stray dogs’ menace in Riverside County

Currently, the Department of Animal Services in Riverside County intends to bring a spay-neuter bus to Anza. Undoubtedly, this will help prevent the breeding and, ultimately, overpopulation of strays in the region. 

Moreover, the department is keen on “providing occasional vaccination and educational clinics, and urging people to keep their pets indoors and behind fences.” 

Shockingly, there have been reports of some animal control officers giving Anza residents the green light to shoot these talk-of-the-town strays in the event of an encounter.

“I don’t feel right doing that, knowing they may be someone’s pet,” shared one concerned resident.

All in all, field commander Sisler emphasized shooting stray dogs isn’t the ideal solution. He believes “there are better ways of addressing the problem.” 


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