A forensic veterinarian with the Los Angeles Police Department has found no evidence of sexual assault of an abused five-year-old pit bull adopted from an Orange County animal shelter, police said Thursday, Aug. 16.

The dog, Valerie, was reported by members of the nonprofit animal rescue group Ghetto Rescue to have been found dead, Aug. 6, on W. 85th Street in South Los Angeles. A chip on the dog showed she was adopted from OC Animal Care on July 23.

Initial reports were that she suffered an aortic rupture and may have been sexually abused.

“The physical examination that she (the forensics veterinarian) did, leads her to say what she said. Could there be more? Could we find evidence? Swabs were taken. We’re not done yet,” said Det. Al Erkelens, the lead detective for the LAPD Animal Cruelty Task Force. “If test results come back and show the presence of human fluid, we’ll have to look at it again.”

The LAPD made its investigation public Thursday, Aug. 16 to counter what it called viral misinformation spread over the last several days on social media.

Erkelens said Valerie was first examined by a veterinarian who saw her Aug. 7, after she had already died.

“The veterinarian did not determine the dog died by aortic rupture,” Erkelens said. “The cause of the bleeding still has to be determined. The rescue’s veterinarian also did not exam her for vaginal trauma. Once the necropsy is done, we’ll know more.”

Meanwhile, investigators are trying to find witnesses to help identify who may have dumped the dog in the South Los Angeles neighborhood.

“There has been a lot of misinformation out there,” he said. “We should have more information next week.”

Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer earlier this week called for more supervision over information given to shelters by potential adopters.

“We do ‘Clear the Shelters’ to find good homes for pets so we don’t have to destroy them,” he said Monday, referring to low-cost adoption events. “We have to ensure that people who are adopting them are responsible.”

On Thursday, Spitzer said he is glad the LAPD is setting the record straight on what happened with the pit bull and that they are continuing their investigation.

“The questions that have been raised by this case about adoption and the communication between shelters is still a good policy issue to address,” he said.


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