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Increased reward offered in Riverside Chihuahua-dumping case; essay contest will be held to select an adoptive home for surviving dog

November 25, 2009 | 12:00 pm

Chihuahua2True to form, animal lovers have come out in force to support the Chihuahua who survived being dumped in a Riverside irrigation canal with her mouth bound with electrical tape earlier this week.  

The dog, a female believed to be about 3 to 4 years old that weighs approximately 7 pounds, has been under the care of the Riverside Animal Shelter's veterinary staff.  She's reportedly in good physical shape despite the trauma of her ordeal. 

Staff report that the little dog, whom they've nicknamed Nemo, is good with people and loves to be held.  ("Definitely a lap dog," said veterinary technician Kasey Littlefield.)

A second Chihuahua, a male believed to be about 1 year old, was found dead in the canal. 

Officials with the Riverside County Department of Animal Services say they've received an outpouring of support from around the U.S.  Some callers have offered financial assistance, resulting in a dramatically increased reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for abusing the two dogs.  (At last count, the reward totaled $2,000, up from $500 that was initially offered in the case.)

Other callers have offered to adopt Nemo, should an owner not come forward to claim her.  Since so many potential adopters have presented themselves, the department has decided to try a novel way of choosing Nemo's new owner: an essay contest.  

Those interested in adopting Nemo are asked to write a 250-words-or-less essay on why the resilient little dog should become their new family member.  Essays should be completed and returned to the Riverside animal shelter, along with a completed adoption application.  Essays and applications may be dropped off at the shelter in person or mailed to:

Riverside Animal Shelter
5950 Wilderness Ave.
Riverside, CA 92504

Essays and applications can also be sent by e-mail to shelterinfo@co.riverside.ca.us (subject line should read "Chihuahua of the canal essay contest") or via fax to (951) 358-7300.  Mailed entries must be received by Saturday, Nov. 28; hand-delivered, e-mailed or faxed entries must be received no later than 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29.  The winner will be announced at the city of Riverside's Home for the Holidays pet-adoption event, to be held Tuesday, Dec. 1 at Riverside City Hall.

Anyone with information about the dogs' abuser is urged to call the Riverside animal shelter at (951) 358-PETS.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Riverside County Department of Animal Services

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