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Animal Cruelty in Kern County: dead dogs in dog food bags

Disturbing dumping of deceased dogs occurs in Kern County, where animal cruelty is an ongoing problem
Posted at 7:31 PM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-02 14:05:15-04

MOJAVE, Calif. (KERO) — Dead dogs in dog food bags found in Mojave Desert and other areas of Kern County, where animal cruelty is an ongoing problem

  • Dealing with animal trauma weighs on Dr. Nicole Eller, medical director at the Bakersfield Animal Care Center.
  • Nick Cullen, the director of Kern County Animal Services says to call KCAS if a deceased animal is found at (661) 868-7100 or go to theirwebsite.
  • Eller says it's possible the dead dogs in dog food bags could be linked to crime, including dog fighting.


Dead dogs found in dog food bags have turned up in several areas in Kern County. Most recently, in Mojave, where the dogs in the bags sat for more than a month.

I'm Steve Virgen, your neighborhood reporter.

Those cases of abuse remain a mystery, as Dr. Nicole Eller the medical director at Bakersfield Animal Care Center says animal cruelty in Kern County is an ongoing problem.

"i can't tell you how many times people have told me they see the pain in my eyes."

Dr. Nicole Eller is telling me about her reaction to all the animal trauma that comes into Bakersfield Animal Care Center, where she is the medical director.

Eleven percent of the animals reported to the care center involve cruelty or neglect, says Matthew Buck, the shelter director.

That doesn't account for the high amount of 'stray' animals.

"I've never seen the level of animal neglect and cruelty in one area that I have since I moved out here," Eller said.

Eller has lived in Kern County for two years.

Many days, she performs at least 15 spays or neuters with hopes it will help years from now to prevent acts of abandoning animals or disposing deceased cats and dogs.

Tess Gruwell and Angelina Harrington rescued four abandoned dogs in Mojave just before Thanksgiving.

More recently... the two were geocaching in the Mojave Desert... when their adventure went awry.

"Well, at first it was kind of like: oh look, there's two dog food bags when we were driving by until we came right next to it. And, i was like, oh my God. I was pretty blown away."

23 ABC recently reported on dead dogs found in dog food bags in March.

Dr. Eller says it's possibly a link to dog fighting.

Nick Cullen, the director of Kern County Animal Services, also did not rule that out.

He said it's best to call Kern County Animal Services when finding a deceased animal.

The facility charges $10 to dispose of dead animals.

"It's a disturbing act that somebody might take to abandon their deceased animal in the middle of nowhere whether it's in a dog food bag, or any other type of bag. It's disturbing and it's terrible, and it's shocking to see, but not uncommon," Cullen said.

Eller said law enforcement and county officials need to step in to help prevent animal cruelty.

"Come and spend a day with us. come and follow us around. see what we do. see what we have to go through daily at the shelters. and maybe then it will open your heart a little bit to being a little more helpful."

Eller did say efforts from animal shelters and animal lovers have helped the situation improve over the last year.

I'm Steve Virgen your neighborhood reporter.

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