A family living in the unincorporated area near Lake Elsinore tells officials that their dog died after a neighbor shoved a water hose down its throat in what's being called a "neighbor versus neighbor" dispute.
"They murdered our dog," said Jane Ray, the family pet's owner. "It was hateful."
According to Riverside County Department of Animal Services Spokesman John Welsh, the 3-year-old female pit bull mix named "Puddles" died Thursday and the department was called out to the scene.
"It is uncertain how the dog died but Puddles had been involved in 'fence fighting' with the neighbor’s dog, according to witness accounts," Welsh said. "The two dogs were engaged in aggressive acts against each other through a small opening between the two properties."
Welsh said the dog's owner claims the neighbor eventually put a water hose down Puddles’ mouth and, shortly afterward, the dog died.
Ray alleges the water hose was on when the killing occurred.
"My son and daughter saw it happen," Ray said. "My son tried to get to the faucet while it was happening but he couldn't get past the electronic gate. Water was coming out of 'Pud's' mouth."
"Pud's" was pregnant, she added. Those puppies did not survive.
“The dog was wet and the water hose was on at some point or another,” Welsh confirmed. "We have strong suspicion that the animal was hurt on purpose."
According to Ray, the neighbor said, "I'm going to take care of this once and for all. My son and daughter heard him say that." During the alleged attack on Puddles, the neighbor's German Shepherd also kept a hold on the animal's face, Ray said. "She couldn't go anywhere."
Dr. Allan Drusys, Riverside County’s chief veterinarian, said the “dog died under contentious circumstances.”
No arrests have been made in the case, but if the necropsy results determine Puddles died due to an inhumane act, the Department of Animal Services will file an arrest declaration seeking animal-cruelty charges with the Riverside County District Attorney’s office, Welsh said.
That necropsy was performed Friday, though Welsh said it will take several days for the results to come in.
Ray said Puddles was a family pet and got along well with the other canines in the household. Now, those other dogs seem upset and as if "they are saying 'where's Puds'," Ray told Patch.
"She bonded with my daughter's boyfriend and followed him everywhere," Ray added, but admitted that Puddles and the neighbor's German Shepherd often sparred through the fence separating the properties.
Welsh confirmed that animal services has never been called to either home, and Ray said during the nearly two years of living at the location she has not had any altercations with the neighbor.
Neighbor disputes over dogs are common, Welsh said, noting that in many cases they can be avoided with proper fencing that deters canine fighting and barking.