According to veterinary findings, the Chihuahua-mix dog burned in a fire at Houghton Park on January 25 had been suffocated in a plastic bag before incineration. The dog was a male with no microchip, had not been neutered and appeared to be 1–2 years old. There was no apparent link between this incident and other acts of arson involving dogs that took place in Long Beach in the past. Long Beach Fire Department Chief Frank Hayes communicated that the suffocation and subsequent burnings looked like intentional acts of animal cruelty and could fall under California Penal Code 597, Crimes against Animals.

Friends of Long Beach Animals (FOLBA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the humane treatment of animals, has posted a reward of $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the torture and killing of the dog. Long Beach City Council member Rae Gabelich is contributing $250. Combined with the $2,000 offered by Justin Rudd and his Haute Dogs community network, this offers anyone who may know or have seen anything $7,250 to do the right thing.

“This won’t be tolerated here,” Gaelich said. “If people offer enough, we can flush him out.” She added that she thinks that it’s “pathetic” that people have to be offered money to grease up their moral machines, but it’s also about feeling and intent.

We think it’s pathetic as well. The organizations and individuals who have shown this generosity and concern, as well as the good people who posted their responses in the last article, don’t need a reward to take down a monster preying on someone innocent, be it a dog, cat, child, senior citizen or any other helpless creature. Even in this economic struggle, we feel safe to say that no one taking the time to digest and react to this and other reports of animal cruelty needs a reward to spur them to action. But, people being who and what they are, and with possible fear or threats involved, may need a reward to ultimately act. The idea that FOLBA, Rudd, Haute Dogs and Gabelich are putting up so much money show that their hearts are at least as big as their wallets.

“These are good examples of showing what people’s priorities are and what their commitments are,” said John Keisler, Long Beach Animal Care Services’ director. “Rewards are tools for impetus to get people to do things they wouldn’t do on their own.”

Keisler said that all departments involved in the investigation are making good progress, and that he is confident that they will solve the case.

This sort of action crosses the line of “how sick these people must be, and how they must be hurting themselves.” We don’t care how much they’re hurting. The idea that people like this exist—and we get e-mails about cases of animal cruelty on a regular basis—spur our thoughts and emotions to run a gamut between bewilderment and extreme anger. Let’s catch this person, or people, and punish them to the extent of the law so they cannot harm other animals. If you have any information, please call the Long Beach Fire Department at (562) 570-2582 or contact Animal Control Services at (562) 570-7387. Meanwhile, hug close your own animal companion and keep him or her safe.

“Cruelty to animals in any form will not be tolerated.”
Friends of Long Beach Animals