At the Devore Shelter in San Bernardino County, Sheba, an 11-year-old German shepherd had been caged for 16 months at the shelter. Her 81-year-old owner Jose “Pepe” Sanchez was heartbroken over not having Sheba home with him.
Sheba had been labeled a “vicious” dog by San Bernardino County (SBC) because of an incident with another dog. The other dog was not severely injured and doing well. The owners of the other dog agreed that Sheba should not be killed and had written a letter to SBC asking them to refrain from killing her.
“For over a year Sheba has been kept in a small, 5×5 dark concrete cell where she has no bed or blanket to shield her from the cold hard floor, no toys to stimulate her and no interaction to help her cope with the isolation. Sheba has never been out of the cell and is deprived of any exercise. Her 81 year old owner, Jose “Pepe” Sanchez travels 40 miles three days a week to see Sheba, is allowed only 5 minutes for each visit and is denied physical contact with Sheba. The severity of these restrictions are causing unnecessary mental anguish resulting in physical harm to Mr. Sanchez and Sheba…,” the Saving Sheba Facebook stated.
Animal Control officers contended Sheba had a history of aggression. In July 2018, Sheba had run away and attacked a dachshund named Picasso, who suffered tissue punctures from bites which required surgery. Sheba was then accused of attacking Picasso again and lunging for his owner while he held his dog.
On Monday, the 14-month legal battle between San Bernardino County and Sanchez ended in a bittersweet victory for the dog’s owner. Sheba’s life has been spared, but her new life will be far away from her beloved owner. It was agreed Sheba be sent to an animal sanctuary in Utah.
And on Saturday, Sheba left Devore and headed to Best Friends Animal Society where she will live out her life. According to the website, Saving Sheba, the staff is impressed with her at the sanctuary:
“…“Sheba is Amazing.” They are impressed with her. For the first time in over 18 months she is enjoying pets and hugs and hands-on affection and great care and comforts. She is getting the first exercise out of a small cage in a year and a half. Away from Stalag Devore where they denied her ANY exercise at all and where they denied her affectionate interaction – which she terribly needed – with her owner and Dad.
Sadly, Sheba will no longer be by the side of Sanchez, who barely was able to stop from crying.
Sanchez will be allowed to visit Sheba, but he will no longer be able to visit his dog three times a week he did while she was visiting the dog at Devore shelter.