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Advocate manhandled during effort to save dogs at San Bernardino City Shelter

Maria Sanchez, an animal advocate who networks dogs impounded at the San Bernardino City Shelter, found herself on the wrong end of yet another confrontation with San Bernardino Police Sergeant Adam Affrunti. The shelter comes under the control of the city’s police department, and Affrunti is responsible for supervising its day-to-day operations.

Prince and Jesse
Maria Sanchez

Sanchez was at the shelter this past Saturday taking photos and videos of the dogs to post to her Facebook page and YouTube channel when she met a new foster mom who was hoping to pull two dogs, Prince and Jesse. The foster mom drove from Los Angeles to pick up the dogs.

The city would not release the dogs to the foster so she tried to find an “approved” rescue to pull. The shelter closes at 5:00 p.m. and staff will not release animals after 4:30 p.m. No rescue could be found by 4:30 so Sanchez suggested the foster speak with Affrunti to request an extension for the dogs.

Sanchez escorted the foster to the office to speak with Affrunti before 5 p.m. He said he would be right up to speak to them. About 10 minutes later he arrived in the lobby. Affrunti refused to note the request on the kennel records but said he “would make a mental note to keep them safe until Tuesday.” The shelter is closed Sundays and Mondays.

At this point, Affrunti noticed it was past 5:00 pm. and said that he would not discuss the matter further. He asked Sanchez to leave.

Sanchez attempted to explain to Affrunti that she was trying to help the foster with the process. He told Sanchez she could make an appointment to speak with him the following week. At that point she turned on her video camera to document that he said he would make a mental note not to kill the two dogs.

“He grabbed my belongings and my forearm and pushed me out the lobby door. When I told him I was walking out and asked him to let go of me, he did. But then when I told him he didn't need to escort me out, he grabbed my arm again and pushed me out the front gate,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez weighs less than 100 pounds. As seen in the video above, Affrunti is twice her size. Please note the video contains harsh language.

“There was no reason for Sergeant Muscles to put his hands on me. He was upset because I was documenting the fact that he said he was going to make a ‘mental note’ not to kill Prince and Jesse.

"In the video, I do spew out some choice words . . . but I was very upset that this monster had his hands on me again. I plan on filing a complaint with the city, human resources, any and all avenues that are available to file a complaint with,” Sanchez continued.

“My only concern now is that Prince and Jesse are still alive on Tuesday, July 1. They have a very serious foster offer who is willing to foster them both after seeing how bonded they are. It would be two senseless deaths if they were killed so closed to escaping this hell hole,” concluded Sanchez.

Unfortunately, after two weeks in the San Bernardino Shelter, both dogs contracted an illness and were not treated. The good news is they found their freedom today thanks to BFF Pet Rescue. Due to the efforts of many, they should make a full recovery and find their forever home as a bonded pair.

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