Quarantined dog stolen from Visalia shelter


Tulare County Animal Services of the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) is asking for assistance from the Three Rivers community in locating a vicious dog named “Choco” that was stolen from the City of Visalia Animal Care Center sometime after 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4, and before 6 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 5. 
The animal is a "vicious and dangerous animal," as defined in Tulare County Ordinance Code §4-07-6000 and community members are asked not to approach the animal, but to call Animal Control Services at (559) 636-4080. 
Choco is an unaltered male dark brown Mastiff/Staffordshire Terrier mix. His owner resided in the Cherokee Oaks neighborhood of Three Rivers.
Tulare County Animal Services took Choco into custody after a dog-on-dog attack in Cherokee Oaks on Sunday, Sept. 16, resulted in the death of Manuel Guzman's German shepherd named “Bogey.” Choco was identified by the owner of the deceased dog.  
Choco was placed in quarantine at the Visalia Animal Care Center pending a vicious animal hearing.
A hearing was held September 27, and the Hearing Officer issued a determination letter on October 5, finding Choco a potentially vicious and dangerous animal pursuant to Tulare County Ordinance Code §4-07-6100(6)(b). 
The determination was made after hearing evidence in regards to the death of the German shepherd and 10 additional aggressive incidents reported by other community members, including one alleged bite to another dog and two alleged bites to people. Additionally, the hearing officer found that the owners were negligent and failed to maintain proper restrictive measures that would prevent Choco from freely roaming the neighborhood. 
The animal was ordered to be euthanized. At the request of the owner, an appeals hearing was held on October 24, and the independent hearing officer upheld the determination that the dog should be humanely euthanized.
At this time, the dog's location remains unknown. No other animals were harmed or stolen and no other property was removed from the Animal Care Center.
Any resident who thinks they know the whereabouts of Choco is asked to contact Tulare County Animal Services at (559) 636-4080 or animalcontrolsupport@tularehhsa.org.
See additional reporting regarding this incident:
September 21— Click here.     
September 28— Click here.
October 12— Click here.


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