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Woodbridge woman accuses deputy of releasing lost dogs in 100-degree heat

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Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 12:00 am

A Woodbridge woman contends that a San Joaquin County Sheriff’s deputy recovered her stray dogs — but then released them into a remote field with no food or water in 100-degree heat.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office is now searching for the animals and has launched an investigation into the incident.

“If these dogs were released, as alleged, it would not be standard procedure,” said Deputy Les Garcia, spokesman for the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office. “We have launched an internal investigation. We are asking for the public’s help in assisting us with locating these two dogs so they may be returned to their rightful owner.”

Patricia Haggard of Woodbridge is searching frantically for her dogs — and planning to file an official complaint with the Sheriff’s Office. She said the deputy admitted dumping the dogs after he was unable to place them in a shelter.

“I’m horrified,” Haggard, 31, said. “This should have never happened. First, (the deputy) should have never put the dogs in the car. Second, if the shelters were full, he should have taken them to a vet.”

Haggard’s dogs, a 1-year-old, three-legged pit bull mix and 7-year-old German shepherd, shimmied their way through a fence and escaped their home along Alan Avenue in Woodbridge on Sunday. But according to Haggard, a San Joaquin County Sheriff’s deputy told her that later that day, he found the dogs and wrangled them into his patrol car.

Neither dog was wearing a collar, so the deputy took the dogs to two local animal shelters, neither of which had room for the strays. But the deputy had another plan, Haggard said.

The deputy told her that he drove the German shepherd, Bella, and pit bull, Nika, to a rural field along Lucas Road in Woodbridge and simply let them go, Haggard said. Without food, without water and in 100-degree heat, the dogs were on their own.

Haggard said both dogs were microchipped, complete with her address and telephone number, which a vet can access.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident and currently searching for the lost dogs.

Haggard, with the help of family and friends, is distributing fliers, but after two days and no sign of her dogs, she’s not hopeful they’ll be found.

“Instead of doing the right thing, he abandoned my dogs,” Haggard said. “Now they’re just gone.”

Haggard has talked with her attorney and plans to file a complaint with the Internal Affairs Department at the Sheriff’s Office.

Haggard said she’ll keep searching day and night.

“I’m just going to keep trying to find where they are,” she said.

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