Maria Sanchez, the advocate who tried to save Sue, a sick dog at the San Bernardino City Animal Shelter, was arrested and roughed up by San Bernardino City Police Officers when she returned to the shelter today to videotape dogs. Observers believe she was taken from the premises by ambulance to a local hospital.
Sanchez is one of two animal advocates who in recent months have had the police called on them while photographing/videotaping the dogs at the shelter. Sanchez was removed by police yesterday and was notified today that she could not return for 72 hours per the city attorney. She was not served with any type of restraining order or court paperwork.
A witness videotaped today’s encounter and that video will be posted to an updated version of this story as soon as it is available. Please check back.
Sanchez, who has thousands of subscribers and followers, posts videos to YouTube and Facebook to network dogs in hopes of finding forever homes. A video of yesterday’s confrontation can be found here.
In the meantime, an online petition demanding the termination of Debi Shuker, operations manager for the shelter and the person responsible for contacting police, can be found at: Petition
The San Bernardino City Animal Shelter is known as one of the worst shelters in the entire country. Shuker is credited with multiple retaliatory executions of animals when the rescue community speaks out against her practices and the “hell hole” like conditions at the shelter.
In Sept. 2013, Andrea Neyses was confronted and searched by three armed police officers for giving treats to the dogs she was photographing. She was told criminal charges would be filed but after many months was notified that no charges would be brought. The story can be found here.
Animal advocates from anywhere in Southern California are encouraged to attend the April 7, 2014, meeting of the San Bernardino City Council to protest today’s arrest and the ongoing conditions at the shelter. The public session begins at 4 p.m. but those attending should be prepared to stay for several hours as the council members often fight among themselves for hours before allowing members of the public to speak. However, it is also conceivable they will have public comment at the beginning to thwart animal advocates' attempts to speak. The meetings are televised live.
Update: Maria is waiting to be released from the hospital. She was charged with Tresspass and Assault on a Peace Officer. She has a court date of Aug. 5 in San Bernardino. She has posted photos of her injuries to her Facebook page.
During the assault, the officers refused to allow her to have her anxiety medication. They are now claiming that it was she who assaulted them.
Second Update: Here is a link to a second video of today's incident: Arrest