Orange Cove man’s dog dies after release from animal control

Beau

Junior Alvarez’ pet dog, Beau, died Tuesday after spending the weekend inside Orange Cove’s animal shelter.

Alvarez said that when he finally saw Beau on Monday morning there was no food, water or bed in his kennel. He said his dog was sitting in urine and feces on a freezing concrete floor.

Sgt. Jose Puga from the Orange Cove Police Department said the Public Works Department is responsible for taking care of the animals over the weekend. Puga said they feed the dogs, keep the facility clean and provide beds for the dogs. He added there is video surveillance to prove it.

Turbulent history

Orange Cove has a turbulent history with their ability to manage an animal control facility.

In 2014, the city manager at the time asked a group of volunteers helping at the animal shelter to incorporate and form a nonprofit organization. They were asked to do so because the city had received multiple complaints about the treatment of the dogs and the rate of dogs being put down. Friends of Orange Cove Animal Shelter (FOCAS) was formed that year.

The volunteers were able to relieve the city of the burden of feeding, caring and finding homes for the dogs. FOCAS volunteers ran the shelter and cared for the dogs, maintaining an almost 100% adoption rate.

But in 2018, Orange Cove Mayor Victor Lopez and city staff started the process of terminating FOCAS’ contract, first questioning their nonprofit status, then complaining that the group no longer turned in monthly reports. The last straw was when FOCAS’ volunteers complained about animal abuse by city workers after a dead dog was found in one of the city’s vehicles.

In October of 2019, the Orange Cove City Council voted to terminate FOCAS’ contract to run the animal shelter.

When the city took over, they indicated at the time they would euthanize dogs that overstay their hold. The city has kept their promise.

At the February 12 City Council meeting this year, Orange Cove Chief of Police Marty Rivera presented a short report on the city’s animal shelter. Rivera reported that for the month of January, animal control caught 22 dogs, out of which 9 were euthanized. The rest were returned to their owners.

‘Your Dog Looks Sick, Bro’

Puga said that a neighbor of Alvarez called animal control on December 11 to report a vicious dog.

When Rogelio Diaz, an animal control officer, arrived at the scene he recognized Beau and knew the dog was not vicious. Nevertheless, city ordinance states that dogs must be confined in their yard, so Diaz impounded Beau in the shelter and then left for an extended period.

Alvarez searched for Beau that Friday afternoon and into the evening; he later asked an Orange Cove officer, who confirmed that Beau was at the facility. Alvarez wouldn’t be able to pick up his dog until Monday morning

He attempted numerous times throughout the weekend to contact the city to retrieve his dog. His sister called and spoke to the sergeant who assured her that Beau was being fed and cared for. Alvarez and his sister asked if they could just see him to make sure he was OK but they were denied.

Alvarez waited at city hall on Monday morning to pay his fine then went straight to Animal Control at 9 a.m, when the facility is scheduled to open. The shelter was an hour late in opening and, once inside, he had to wait another hour for someone with the department to let him inside the kennels.

He claims that he was told by a public works employee that Diaz was on vacation and the animals had not been cared for over the weekend.

The public works employee then walked into the kennel and exclaimed, “Oh damn, your dog looks sick, bro,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez described the shelter as freezing and damp, and said he found his dog lethargic, sitting in puddles of urine and feces on the cold concrete. He took Beau outside and tried to warm him up and then rushed him to the veterinarian. His dog died the next day.

A smaller dog was “going crazy barking” Alvarez said when he retrieved Beau.

As they left the building, Alvarez claimed the public works employee locked the door and left the small dog alone.

Intent to hurt Beau?

Alvarez claims that Diaz intended to harm his dog, saying he is suspicious of the fact that Diaz placed his dog in the shelter and later took an extended leave, possibly knowing Beau would not be cared for.

His dog was picked up in front of his home and had city license tags; with those, Alvarez should have been called immediately, he said.

“That didn’t happen,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez also claimed Diaz was angry after an animal control incident last year in which he reached out to a superior officer. Beau was picked up by animal control, and Alvarez stated he talked to a higher-ranking officer about releasing his dog without a fine.

Puga stated that Orange Cove Animal Control had received multiple complaints about Alvarez’ dog, and that Beau had been picked up before. Alvarez acknowledged his dog had previously been held by animal control, stating that kids would open up the gate to play with the dog.

The fact that Beau had been picked up before, and that Animal Control knew the dog well, made Alvarez even more suspicious. Alvarez is also well-known, a popular employee of Citrus Middle School in Orange Cove.

Beau was only two years old and in good health. Beau and his owner live near the police department, and everyone knew the dog, according to Sheila Lindquist, a member of FOCAS.

“Beau was the neighborhood’s sweetheart,” she said. “If they are just going to kill animals, please close the shelter and allow Fresno County to take over.”

15 thoughts on “Orange Cove man’s dog dies after release from animal control

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  1. That’s a number of years they need to shut that place down. It’s been such cold conditions lately and making a dog sleep out in the cold and On cement with no food and water. They definitely need to take action against them.

  2. This is so sick. Good thing they’re finally shedding the light on the problems that occur in this city.

  3. Nobody is taking responsibility for this. Not public works, not PD. No one wants to be held accountable. How many times is this going to happen??

  4. I agree. Years ago my 2 pitbulls were taken there and i ran down to get them and was informed. By staffthey were given to a passer by!.i called a rescue and they got the staff member to take me to the passer bys home where they were happily returned to me. !

  5. This facility is a nightmare for animals.
    I personally spoke to Orange Cove Sgt. Puga he admitted dog was not aggressive.
    The dog was well known in the area.
    If public works can’t take care of your pot holes which they ate actually paid for, think they are going to Care for stray animals.
    OCPD could not tell me who and how the “volunteers”
    were vetted to care for The animals.

  6. Has anyone gotten that other poor d of out?! I’ve called repeatedly on it with no reply. Some, PLEASE, save the other dog!!!

  7. I personally knew Beau, and the fact that they use the word vicious is a poor excuse as to why he was picked up. Kids loved playing with him because he was so gentle and sweet. I am heartbroken this was done to him.

  8. For pet owners/lovers, their dogs are family. This was cruel. My condolences to his owner.

    Red tape garbage that they couldn’t check in him. Bastards!

  9. NO weekend care!! IRRESPONSIBLE!!
    If an owner were to take off for an extended weekend and left their pups in such conditions, can’t believe there wouldn’t be any repercussions. Someone is getting paid to care for these animals, the buck stops where? Can’t do the job? Then let those that care enough to do it right handle it

  10. PRAYERS TO BEAU’S OWNER.
    I ALSO HOPE THEY FIND A GREAT ANIMAL LAWYER TO HANDLE THIS CASE & GET SOME JUSTICE FOR BEAU!
    FOR ANIMAL ATTORNEYS:
    CALL DR. OZ & ASK HIS STAFF. HIS SHOW DID UNDER COVER INVESTIGATION ABOUT DOGS DYING AT PETSMART GROOMING FACILITIES.
    THERE IS ALSO ONGOING INVESTIGATIONS IN FRESNO, CA REGARDING SEVERAL DOGS DYING, BECOMING “ILL” AT A BOARDING FACILITY.

  11. What Orange Cove needs is to enact, and enforce a strict limit on pets. On our block on Center we have a cat lady with 40-50 cats. The smell, the flys the cr-p on the yard is insane. On the same block we have a dog breeder.
    One thing is for sure… Without funding, all the words in the world are just that; cheap talk, and cheap talk don’t get the job done. But some heavy fines would provide two things. An incentive to take care of your animals, and finds for the animals not being care for.

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