Despite never having harmed a human, Sheba, an 11-year-old German shepherd, has been locked in a small cage in a Southern California shelter for over one year – and officials are now trying to put her down.
The German shepherd was incarcerated at the Devore Animal Shelter after getting into a tussle with a neighborhood dog in 2018. San Bernardino County officials then deemed Sheba to be “potentially dangerous” and would only release her to her 80-year-old owner, Jose Sanchez (affectionately known as Pepe), under certain terms and conditions.
“One of those was that she never escape home again. Unfortunately, she did and based on that they can declare her vicious and they may kill her,” Marla Tauscher, an animal rights attorney, told KTLA News.
According to the Saving Sheba website, after Sheba got loose the second time, Pepe received a letter stating that his German shepherd was to be destroyed as per San Bernardino County Code., Title 3, Division 2, Chapter 14, Section 32.1407(a). This section essentially states that allowing the senior to keep the dog “would create a significant threat to the public’s health, safety, and welfare.”
But here’s why famed animal activists, such as Priscilla Presley, are now speaking out about the case.
- There is no evidence that Sheba is a vicious dog. She has never attacked a human and has only been in one dog-related scuffle, resulting in $200 of vet bills – certainly not serious injuries.
- While Pepe acknowledges he may not be able to properly supervise Sheba anymore, he is not asking for the return of his dog.
Pepe is only asking that San Bernardino County does not euthanize Sheba and that she be placed with one of the many rescue and rehabilitation facilities that are willing to take her.
“Even dogs with any aggression background including those with significant human bite histories are released to rescue organizations all the time,” the Saving Sheba website reads.
In fact, according to Penny Douglas Furr, animal rights advocate and Atlanta attorney, under Southern California law, if a dog can be rehabilitated, it cannot be put to death.
The request seems reasonable, right?
But no, apparently not. By all accounts, the county board and their legal department refuse to even discuss the situation or attempt to find an equitable solution.
In an episode of Crime Stories with Nancy Grace, those familiar with the case revealed that they believe the county is personally punishing Pepe for his stubbornness and being uncooperative throughout the process. They believe the county is now trying to teach him a lesson by euthanizing his dog.
Pepe has been trying to fight the decision through the court system, but the pandemic and an error on the part of his lawyer have dragged the proceedings out.
Since the second incident, Sheba has been incarcerated in a tiny cage at the Devore Animal Shelter for over a year. Pepe visits her three times a week to bring her treats, but Sheba remains in her cage during visits and the shelter staff only allows him to stay for 5-10 minutes at a time. When Pepe’s not there, Sheba remains locked up with virtually no human interaction.
Sheba’s final legal hearing is scheduled for September 11.
She needs our help.
On September 11, a judge will rule whether Sheba is declared as vicious. If she is declared vicious, she will likely be put down shortly afterward. The Saving Sheba website asks that supporters contact the San Bernardino County Board instructing them to “negotiate a release of Sheba with the plaintiff attorney to a rescue organization and give her the same option as other dogs coming into the shelter.” They are also instructed to contact John Valdivia, Mayor of San Bernardino, at (909) 384-5133 with the same request.
Click here to listen to the full Nancy Grace podcast episode about the case.
Watch the video below.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.