California

Homeless accused of 3 pet thefts in 2 months in Southern California town, cops say

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Witnessing animal abuse can be difficult, but according to the Humane Society of the Unites States, it is important not to turn away from animal cruelty. Here are tips to help stop animal abuse.
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Witnessing animal abuse can be difficult, but according to the Humane Society of the Unites States, it is important not to turn away from animal cruelty. Here are tips to help stop animal abuse.

Police in a Southern California town are advising locals to keep closer watch on their pets, citing three animals that were reportedly stolen by people who are homeless in a two-month span.

The warning comes after a four-month-old Siamese kitten named Kona went missing from a home in San Clemente in July, and was later found injured in a tent encampment on Aug. 9, leading to animal cruelty and misappropriation of lost property charges against a homeless women, the Orange County Register reports.

“This is very concerning,” said Orange County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Ed Manhart, police chief in the city near Los Angeles, the Register reports. “The pet in this situation has serious health issues. We need to keep a closer eye on our pets just because they are being taken.”

Kona’s family now has her back, but she will require eye surgery, according to KABC.

The other two recent stolen animal cases in which San Clemente homeless people are accused involved a corgi puppy named Bae that was taken from a nail salon and a second dog taken while it was tied up near a bathroom, according to the Register.

California has an estimated population of just under 40 million, making it roughly 12 percent of the total U.S. population of 327 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But as of last year, 23.55 percent of the U.S. homeless population lives in California, where around 130,000 people are experiencing homelessness on a given day, according to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

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San Clemente police said in a June 22 Facebook post that Bae was recovered and returned the same day the dog was reported missing.

Police wrote that a man was “stopped while walking near Avenida Pico and the 5 Freeway and lo and behold, Bae was found! As Bae is valued at over $950.00, that constitutes a felony and the male subject was arrested for grand theft.”

Kona was found after a Facebook user posted several photos in the group “San Clemente Life” in August showing a woman dragging a small Siamese cat around on a string.

“Is anyone missing a Siamese cat which was first spotted today on a string at North Beach by the bathrooms?” the poster asked.

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That post has since been updated to link to the Register story on Kona’s rescue.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.
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