Woman Charged with Animal Neglect Speaks Out EXCLUSIVELY with KMIR 6 News
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
CREATED Jul. 3, 2013
An Indio Hills woman is facing animal cruelty charges.
She allegedly mistreated at least one dog in her care.
Several KMIR6 viewers asked that we look into the conditions on this woman's property.
Kitty wrote us, "I have been hauling water and food up a canyon every day for the past 6 weeks to a pack of abandoned dogs, while pleading desperately to Riverside County Animal Services, PETA and the homeless woman who is hoarding them for help for these dogs."
Riverside County arrested Bernadette Schwenn on suspicion of cruelty after one her dogs was put down at the vet.
Animal services say's they've seen up to 15 dogs on the property.
Bernadette won't say how many dogs she actually has.
She lives in the Indio Hills with her dogs in a make-shift shelter.
"I'd just like some of these people to respect my private property, I live up here to be away from people," said Schwenn.
Bernadette Schwenn is facing animal cruelty charges, that she says are false.
Animal services says she failed to provide proper veterinary care for one of her dogs.
"The dog was actually taken off the camp by one of the folks that was trying to assist the gal that lives up there, and taken to the hospital and subsequently euthanized because of how sick it was," said Commander Rita Gutierrez with Riverside County Animal Services.
But Schwenn says the dog was taken illegally.
"And then took her to the vet and had her killed, now that is felony theft, felony trespass," said Schwenn.
Animal services did a necropsy on the dog.
"It showed that the animal probably succumbed from this disease but had been sick for months," said Commander Gutierrez.
Schwenn says she was giving the dog antibiotics because it was old, but said it did not appear to be in pain.
"It's a disease of females, sometimes right when they're still supposedly able to be pregnant, dogs don't normally have puppies after eight years old, so it's not something that you would expect," said Schwenn.
But many animal advocates are concerned about the living conditions for the other dogs on the property.
"We also are concerned about the animals that are left up there, but we are governed by the laws and we do have perimeters that we do have to stay within, and it's very challenging, and we are seeking every other avenue to have the animals legally removed from the property," said Commander Gutierrez
But Schwenn says she cares for her dogs, pointing out multiple dishes of food and water.
"If I'm not going to make it home on time, I have at least eight people that I can call who will come running over here and make sure they have food and water, and I do the same for them," said Schwenn.
Animal services says if Schwenn is convicted she could face fines and probation, and not be allowed to own dogs for five years.