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Pregnant dog dies after hose allegedly shoved down throat

November 2, 2012 | 12:53 pm

Approximate location of incident shown in black.

A pregnant pit bull mix that died after a hose allegedly was shoved down its throat will be examined Friday as part of a potential animal-cruelty investigation, Riverside County officials said.

Three-year-old Puddles was found dead Thursday afternoon at a home in the 15000 block of Laguna Avenue in an unincorporated area bordering Lake Elsinore after witnesses said she had been "fence fighting" with a neighbor's dog, according to John Welsh of Riverside County Animal Services.

Welsh said the dog's owner claimed his neighbor had shoved a hose down the throat of Puddles, who apparently had stuck her head into the adjoining yard through a small opening in the fence.

Animal Services Officer Marcel Martinez arrived on the scene to find the wet body of the dead dog, who was about 45 days pregnant, and a hose nearby, Welsh said.

Officials initially suspected that the dog had drowned but other potential causes of death could have been stress or larynx problems, Welsh said. The results of the necropsy -– essentially an autopsy for animals to will help determine the cause of death -– will probably not be known for a week, he said.

"Obviously, the dog died in a manner that was contentious, and there are reasons for us to strongly believe this was done on purpose to cause harm to the dog," Welsh said.

If officials find that an inhumane act caused the dog's death, they will file an arrest declaration seeking animal-cruelty charges with the Riverside County district attorney's office, Welsh said.

Officials would not release the identities of the dog's owner or the neighbor, saying the matter was still under investigation.

Welsh urged pet owners who have conflicts with others to contact animal services officers for mediation.

"It's something that could be resolved ... rather than someone taking matters into their own hands," he said.

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-- Teresa Watanabe

Image: A map shows in black the approximate location where a pregnant dog was found dead, prompting an investigation into potential animal cruelty. Credit: Google Maps

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