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October 10, 2005 - Devore Animal Shelter
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October 10, 2005 at 12:32 p.m. I received a telephone message from a distressed female voice. She said she worked at the Devore Animal Shelter in San Bernardino and she had to talk to someone. She said the conditions there were "really bad". She read the petition on this website and read the law and said it is not being followed there. She said the animals aren't being treated right and she didn't know who to tell and she wanted advice what to do about it. She was concerned about retribution if anyone knew she was calling.

The same day at 3:45 p.m. I answered the phone and the same woman called back. She identified herself as Kathy Harper and said she was so upset about what she had just seen and now she didn't care anyone if her identity was revealed. She said there had just been a "Rodney King" style beating of a little dachshund-mix by a towering 6' 5" "officer".  He was later identified as James Hensley, 'animal control officer' for San   Bernardino County Animal Control Services.

She said the uniformed Hensley came in that day in what she characterized as "a horrible mood. It was obvious something was bothering him."

She described how she heard Hensley yelling and cursing while a dog was screaming. "The dogs in nearby cages were going crazy and were very upset". She said the noise was so deafening she couldn't ignore it.

Eric Foor filled in the details. He's a local San Bernardino baseball hero now playing for the   Chicago Cubs. He was at Devore working off community service hours when he witnessed the beating. He was equally dismayed over the conditions at Devore and was eager to have someone to talk to.

"He [Hensley] was putting the dog in the cage. The dog was hesitating to go in the cage but a lot of them do that. They're scared. Then he went inside of the cage with the dog. He kicked him 5 or 6 times pretty hard. The dog was yelping. He was talking to the dog the whole time, cursing.  Then he pulled a stick from his belt...like a baton but they call it something else."

Then Foor describes the blows. "He reached back way over his head each time and came down really hard. The dog was crying. He hit him about 10 times or so.  He didn't have to.  It was just a little dog." He saw the 17 pound dog cowering in the corner. He said he never saw the dog make any contact with Hensley.

Foor said, "I wiped off the dog afterward. There was a lot of blood, especially on the dog's head."

Harper describes the moments after the beating. "There was blood everywhere. There was blood on every wall of the cage and on the floor. There was blood on the outside and inside of the bars. Some of it was really thick. I took pictures."

She continued. "He [Hensely] came out of the cage. He walked about 15 feet, picked up something from the floor and then walked back to the cage and started cursing at the dog again. I couldn't see what he was doing but I heard him. About 10 minutes later he went up to the cage and was cussing at the dog. The dog was just laying there.

Foor added, "It was weird. He was talking to the dog. The dog wasn't moving or doing anything."

After I received the call from Harper I immediately drove to the Devore pound. I walked to cage 88 where I was told the dog was beaten. There he was. A little black dog, eyes open and breathing but laying motionless as if petrified and in shock. All of the other dogs were frenetic and exhibiting stress.  I noted splatters and splotches of what appeared to be blood on each grey wall, on bars each side of the cage, on the ceiling and on the cage floor. I saw blood on the dog's head, neck, shoulders and back.

I immediately called the sheriff to make an animal cruelty complaint....

"Officer" Hensely has continued to be employed at this same job every day since. Apparently NO action was ever taken against him whatsoever. Reportedly he has refused to talk to the Sheriff and give his account of what happened. As a 'field officer' he is alone with animals all day long.

QUERY: Should someone who could be an animal abuser be employed as an "animal control officer"? Wouldn't a more just result -based on Devore worker statements- be the immediate firing of James Hensley, that he be brought to trial and if convicted, be prohibited from working with animals for life and receive the maximum mandatory jail time that the law allows? Shouldn't convicted abusers also receive mandatory long-term counseling so they don't victimize others throughout their lifetime?

And shouldn't Hensley's 'buddies', County employees and other animal enforcement 'officers' who attempt to cover up the real facts and give false information also be fired and brought to trial?

Lime-colored water in many occupied cages

The reported victim of a 6'5" uniformed
 employee, who is STILL working at Devore

The baton indention can still be seen where the witness described "Rodney King" type blows to the dog's head.

Blood hit every surface of the cage

The staff thought this water for Devore dogs was adequate for over one year until the beating and other complaints drew attention and forced them to clean up.

This dog was shaved after the beating by a vet in several locations where he had numerous lacerations, on both sides of his body, his neck, shoulders and chest and rear. He limped for  several days.

The dent on his head that resulted from the baton beating by the 6'5" dog catcher (according to Devore workers), can still be seen here 10 days later. The vet put staples in his head where the baton reportedly opened it.

Piles of blood poured on every wall, on the bars on both sides, on the ceiling and on the floor of cage 88 where the beating took place 10/10/05.


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