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Veteran Hospitalized, Service Dog Gets Care From County

May 4, 2020



The Department of Animal Services in Riverside County picked up a service dog for temporary county care on Thursday after her owner was diagnosed with COVID-19 and hospitalized.

The dog’s owner was admitted to a hospital in Ontario, but later transferred to Loma Linda University Medical Center. The service dog couldn’t join its owner in the new hospital, so animal services officer John Hergenreder was called to the Ontario hospital to pick up the service dog.

Animal Services took the 7-year-old female Shepard mix and put her in a kennel at the City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley. A Youtube video posted by the Department of Animal Services shows the dog comfortably taken care of until she is able to return to her owner.

According to Animal Services Director Julie Bank, the department had already planned out the procedures for this type of situation and was well-equipped.

“We were already prepared to handle situations, such as this, by creating kennel spaces specifically designated for COVID-19 patients’ pets,” Bank said. “Our team members are also following strict guidelines to stay safe with personal protection equipment.”

The dog’s owner is 70 years old and does not seem to have any family members in the area. The man applied with the Riverside County Animal Services for a service tag in 2018. He is also a veteran.

“He served our country and we take pride in serving him in his time of need,” Bank said. “We certainly hope that he can fight this virus successfully. We look forward to the day he can reunited with his beloved dog.”

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