Suspect Identified in Southern California Animal Shelter Break-In

SEPT. 17, 2015 UPDATE: Jason Johnson has been arrested.

Jason Johnson suspect in Riverside animal shelter break-in

Have you seen this monster?

The suspect who broke into the Riverside County Animal Services shelter in Jurupa Valley, Calif., over the weekend, resulting in the deaths of at least four dogs, was named today as Jason Johnson, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Witnesses came forward and identified Johnson, who is still at large and facing counts of animal cruelty, burglary and vandalism.

According to the Press Enterprise, Johnson stole three Pit Bulls who were under quarantine and facing possible euthanasia. He then broke the locks on other cages to try to cover up his motives. Investigators believe Johnson knows the owners of the three Pit Bulls.

Shelter staff arrived around 6:30 a.m. Sunday to find seven dogs roaming free. Two dogs — a Chihuahua and a Yorkshire Terrier mix — were dead.

“We found blood spatter everywhere,” John Welsh, spokesman for Riverside County Animal Services, told KTLA.

“There were some blood markings that were about 3 feet off the ground. We don’t know exactly what caused that, but we don’t suspect that an animal jumped into the air and caused that blood splatter.”

Dr. Allan Drusys, Riverside County’s chief veterinarian, is performing necropsies on the two dogs to determine the cause of their deaths.

Surveillance footage showed Johnson using bolt cutters to slice through the locks on the cages. He broke into a total of 22 cages, leaving 15 of the locks stacked neatly in a pile.

Twelve dogs were initially reported missing. Seven were eventually found — but two of them, a German Shepherd and Pit Bull, had been hit by cars and killed.

“We’re in the business of trying to save lives, we’re in the business of getting animals back to their rightful owners,” Welsh told the Press Enterprise Sunday. “Our team was devastated.”

A crime prevention analyst from the sheriff’s department is determining how to improve security at this shelter and three others in Riverside County. Investigators believe Johnson may have climbed over a fence and broken the kennel locks without setting off an alarm.

Two non-profit organizations that work with the shelter — Animal Solutions Konnections (ASK) and Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team (START) — offered a $35,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to a conviction. The Humane Society of the United States announced today it is also offering a $5,000 reward.

“Mr. Johnson is actively wanted,” sheriff’s Capt. Jason Horton told CBS Los Angeles. “That arrest warrant was walked through the court yesterday. It’s been entered into our system as being active, and several sheriff’s department investigators as we speak are actively attempting to track him down.”

Johnson, also known as Jason Neunzer, is white, 5-foot-8, 185 pounds, with medium-length brown hair and brown eyes. He may be driving a 2006 white Dodge Ram pickup with the license plate number 00064R1.

Anyone with information on Johnson’s whereabouts is asked to call Investigator T. Gonzales at the Jurupa Valley Sheriff’s station at 951-955-2600.

Photo via Twitter

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!