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Laguna Beach

Police Files (Cont.)

LBPD canine cop sniffs out 19 grams of heroin

On Sunday, Jan 27, at 3:22 p.m., an LBPD officer initiated a vehicle enforcement stop in the area of Cardinal Dr and S Coast Hwy. The driver was identified as Orange resident Athanasios Anagnostos, 47. 

Police Files AnagnostosA records check revealed he had an outstanding warrant. He was subsequently taken into custody. 

“During the contact, drug paraphernalia was observed. K-9 “Ranger” was utilized to search the vehicle and 19 grams of heroin was located,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “Anagnostos was charged with narcotic sales, transporting, and possession.”

According to multiple web sources, the average cost of heroin is $15-20 for a single dose (0.1g). 19 grams would be valued at between $2,850 and $3,800.

Bail was set at $55,100.

Reports of man smoking meth and pointing a rifle toward the hillside result in non-arrest

On Tuesday, Jan 29, at 4:07 p.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to the 20600 block of Laguna Canyon Rd. The call was in reference to a male allegedly inside a vehicle pointing a rifle toward the hillside. 

Detectives requested drone response. The drone and detectives surveilled the occupied vehicle.

“The male was observed possibly smoking methamphetamine. He noticed the drone, flipped it off, and drove away from the area towards El Toro Road. Officers stopped the vehicle near Greenfield Drive in Laguna Niguel,” Sgt Cota said. 

“The driver was identified as a former parolee. A DUI drug investigation was conducted and it was determined the suspect was not under the influence. The vehicle was searched and no guns were located. A report was taken.”

Read more Police Files on our Front Page I – click here

Police Files

Reunited and it feels so good – turtle finds its way back home

Last week in Animal Files, Stu News reported that a turtle had been found by Animal Services and was being cared for with the hope that its owner would read about it and find their wayward pet.

Good news…the turtle was reunited with its owner on Saturday, Jan 26, eight days after the turtle’s traveling trek began, after reading our story.

Police Files Turtle

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of LBPD

Lost and found, this turtle was reunited with his family thanks to Stu News article

 To reiterate the turtle trials, LBPD received a report on Monday, Jan 21 about a large turtle found on Friday, Jan 18, at 31600 Scenic Dr. 

According to Jim Beres, LBPD Civilian Services Administrator, “The turtle was found by an Animal Services Officer in the area of Monterey and Brooks Street. It is a red slider wood turtle.” 

Now the turtle is reported to be safe and sound with its family.

Driver arrested for meth placed at fault in 3-car collision

On Saturday, Jan 26, at 2:38 p.m., LBPD officers responded with LBFD to a traffic collision at Mountain Rd and S Coast Hwy. They arrived to the scene and found three vehicles involved but no injuries reported. 

“The vehicles were blocking the roadway and had to be towed from the scene. One of the parties, David Gilmore, was found to have methamphetamine, a narcotic pipe, and ultimately charged with driving while being addicted,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “He was also the party placed at fault.”

David Alan Gilmore, 30, of Santa Ana, was arrested on suspicion of DUI, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of unlawful paraphernalia.

Bail was set at $3,500.

Lyft driver reported to be “out of his mind” seems ok to LBPD

On Saturday, Jan 26, at 9:36 p.m., at S Coast Hwy and Vista del Sol, a woman called dispatchers to report that her Lyft driver was “out of his mind.” According to LBPD records, dispatchers could hear the driver yelling at the female to get out of the car. An officer responded to find the RP had left. 

“The driver advised that the female RP had keyed his car before she fled. The Lyft driver appeared to be acting normally,” said Sgt Cota. “The officers contacted the female by phone and she refused to return to the scene.”

 A vandalism report was taken and additional follow up will be needed by detectives.

More reports of meth on the streets of Laguna

On Thursday, Jan 24, at 12:33 pm, LBPD officers responded to a possible robbery that had just occurred in the area of Thalia St and S Coast Hwy. The alleged victim said that his friend hit him with a skateboard and took his wallet, which contained $100. They reportedly used to be friends. 

Once on scene, officers were able to gather a bit more information and learned the direction of travel and where the suspect likes to hang out. The suspect was located in the 100 block of Brooks St. The suspect was described to be a white male in his 20s wearing a grey sweatshirt and skinny grey shorts.

“After a lengthy investigation and some independent witness statements, it appears like the victim may have tried to get the suspect to do meth with him. The suspect grabbed the meth, put it into his coffee which destroyed it,” Sgt Cota said. “The victim appears to have become upset and possibly made a false report to get back at the suspect. A report was taken and the investigation is ongoing.”

Police Files (Cont.)

Elderly resident victimized in the bread aisle at Gelson’s

On Sunday, Jan 20, at 2:06 p.m., an elderly resident came to the LBPD station to report that her wallet was stolen while shopping at Gelson’s, at the 30900 block of S Coast Hwy. 

“She was approached by a male in the bread aisle. The male distracted her and asked her random questions about different bread types while another person removed her wallet from her purse. The victim’s credit cards were used at unknown locations,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said.

The victim is working with LBPD and will provide banking statements with further information. Her credit cards had already been used twice by the suspect by the time she reported the crime. The loss was estimated to be around $6,000.

Red slider wood turtle found on the lam

On Monday, Jan 21, at 12:09 p.m., LBPD received a report about a large turtle found on Friday, Jan 18, at 31600 Scenic Drive.

According to Jim Beres, LBPD Civilian Services Administrator, “The turtle was found by an Animal Services Officer in the area of Monterey and Brooks Street. It is a red slider wood turtle. The turtle is at the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter. The owner is unknown.”

Police Files Turtle

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of LBPD

Lost turtle is looking for his family

If you or anyone you know recognizes this trooper of a turtle, call Laguna Beach Animal Shelter at (949) 497-3552 or go to 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Read more Police Files on our Front Page I – click here

Police Files

No thanks, the lawn has already been watered

On Thursday, Jan 17, at 7:46 a.m., LBPD received a report about a suspicious vehicle, a retro burgundy VW bus, parked on Chico Arroyo. According to police records the reporting person said, “An old VW bus pulled up to the area. A male jumped out of the vehicle and urinated on [my] lawn, and smoked a cigarette.” 

The suspicious person was described as a male with a baseball cap and a hoodie pulled over his head. The odd occurrence lasted for about 30 minutes and then he reportedly went back in the bus.

The reporting person had to leave to take their children to school but wanted LBPD to check out the situation. LBPD went to the location, however, no one was in the bus and the suspect could not be found. Interestingly, the retro ride had a vanity plate.

Trees cause havoc after the heavy rains

Trees have been blowing into police reports since the heavy rains hit. Last week two more incidents were reported to LBPD. On Wednesday, Jan 16 at 8 p.m., at the 2400 block of Juanita Way, LBPD received a report in reference to two trees that had fallen in the street. 

The reporting person alerted LBPD after she heard the information from her neighbor. She did not see it herself, so the information was considered secondhand.

According to police records, “Two trees down in the street, one a large tree approximately 20 feet tall.” LBPD contacted Public Works who removed the trees clearing the roadway. A couple hours later the street was open.

Also on Friday, at 8:59 a.m. at the 600 block of Mystic View, LBPD received a report in reference to a tree “that fell on the uphill side, unrooted and partially blocking the street.” 

According to police records, the tree was blocking the street and the RP said he had to “drive through the tree.” Public Works went to the scene and said there was no road obstruction. The tree, which was noted to be a private tree, had been cut up and put on the side of the slope.

Animal Files

When Mother Nature calls, animals listen

On Wednesday, Jan 16, LBPD received a few “animal calls.” It seems that when Mother Nature howls, animals listen. At 10:18 a.m., at the 31100 block of S Coast Hwy, LBPD received a report regarding hummingbirds overstaying their welcome. According to police records, two hummingbirds were in the RP’s dining room. “They have been there for two hours,” reads the report. “The RP is requesting we help remove them.”

Barely two hours later, at the 31700 block of 5th Avenue, LBPD received a report of a rare sighting at the beach. According to police records, “A deer is on the beach. The deer is approximately 100 feet north of the creek. It doesn’t seem to be in distress.”

According to the report, the caller was just giving LBPD a heads up. “The RP just wanted us to be aware,” the report states.

Police Files

Black market marijuana farm discovered in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, open space damaged

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Orange County Parks just completed a massive cleanup of a black market marijuana grow discovered late last year at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, according to a release issued by CDFW.

The black market marijuana grow was discovered on September 27, 2018 by CDFW during routine flights over Orange County with the National Guard’s Counter Drug Unit. Following the discovery, Newport Beach Police Department conducted an eradication mission at the site. Attempts to apprehend the suspects were unsuccessful.

According to CDFW, officers eradicated 500 plants and confiscated 75 pounds of processed marijuana. The grow, when in full production, contained almost 1,500 plants. During the eradication, CDFW documented numerous environmental violations including streambed alterations, haphazard pesticides left on the property, trash within 150 feet of a waterway, and a poached deer.

 According to Laguna Canyon Foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones, the grow area was well-hidden in a remote part of the 7,000 acre park, and caused significant habitat damage to our endangered coastal sage scrub habitat.

“Growers remove native plants and cause additional damage by creating trails and using chemicals on the marijuana plants. This grow site will require extensive repair and mitigation to restore the destroyed habitat,” said Jones in a statement to Stu News on Thursday.

“Passive restoration, in which we remove the problem and let the plants re-establish themselves, will take years. The rains this winter will help, and within a few years we should be hard-pressed to identify exact sites,” Jones continued.

The team cleanup effort was conducted in two phases, in December and January, and included the removal of approximately 3,120 pounds of trash, 1,500 feet of plastic irrigation piping, 24 ounces of pesticides as well as other forms of garbage that can be detrimental to the environment.

Police Files black market Marijuana

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of CDFW website

CA Department of Fish and Wildlife and OC Parks worked together to clean up Laguna Coast Wilderness Park after an illegal marijuana grow was discovered

For the cleanup, OC Parks worked with a specialized hazmat contractor, Clean Harbors, to ensure the pesticide was removed and disposed of correctly. Through testing, the pesticide was confirmed to be carbofuran, a highly toxic and banned substance. To understand the toxicity, just a teaspoon can kill a 300-pound black bear.

“Protecting California’s natural resources takes commitment from federal, state, county and city entities. I commend all those that were involved in this effort to identify the black market grow, eradicate it and clean it up,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the CDFW Law Enforcement Division. “Working together, we can protect the environment and help the permitted cannabis market thrive.”

Between 2013 and 2018, CDFW has removed more than 2.4 million feet of irrigation pipe, 50 tons of fertilizer and 65 gallons of chemicals, many illegal in the U.S., on black market grows. CDFW has also removed 709 dams and water diversions resulting in restoration of 800 million gallons of water back into local watersheds.

CDFW would like to remind the public to report environmental crimes such as water pollution, water diversions and poaching to the CalTIP hotline by calling (888) 334-2258 or by texting “CALTIP” followed by a space and whatever the desired message, to 847411 (tip411).

Read more Police Files on our Front Page II – click here

Police Files (Cont.)

Car slams into pole in slick Canyon, resulting in live wires down

On Wednesday, Jan 16 at 10:10 a.m., at Phillips Rd and Laguna Canyon Rd, a female driver crashed into an Edison pole, resulting in downed live wires and the closure of Laguna Canyon Rd in both directions for hours.

Police Files wires down crash

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of LBPD

Single-car accident downs Edison pole in wet weather Wednesday

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “the female driver stated she slid off the roadway due to the wet surface. Although not raining at the time, the roads were wet.”

Thankfully, according to Sgt Cota, she was able to exit her car safely and no major injuries were reported.

Laguna Canyon Rd was closed for approximately two hours while Edison repaired the pole and wires.

Wild Alta Laguna chase ends in Taser

On Sunday, Jan 13, at 5:47 p.m., LBPD officers were dispatched following a report of a male driving a white pickup recklessly with no headlights on near Alta Laguna Park.

Police Files Newton“An officer arrived on scene first and observed the pickup driving in circles in the Alta Laguna parking lot. The officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the suspect failed to yield. Another officer arrived on scene as the suspect drove out of the parking lot and onto Alta Laguna Blvd,” Sgt Cota said.

According to Sgt Cota, officers initiated a pursuit and followed the vehicle at speeds of 35 mph across Alta Laguna Blvd to Mountain View, back to Alta Laguna and back into the Alta Laguna parking lot.

“Officers blocked the exits and the suspect continued to drive over the planters and drove in circles around the parking lot before pulling into a parking space and attempting to flee on foot,” Sgt Cota said. “Officers gave chase and were able to take him into custody safely utilizing a Taser.”

Huntington Beach resident, Gregg Antonio Newton, 30, was arrested for violation of failure to yield and resisting arrest.

He was booked and transported to OC Jail. 

Bail was set at $500.

Laguna artist’s car broken into, art supplies stolen

Laguna Beach artist Paulette Adams reports that her vehicle was broken into and her art supplies stolen on the evening of Saturday, Jan 12, at the 700 block of High Dr. Adams discovered her car window bashed in the next morning, Jan 13.

Police Files Artist Royal Crown

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of Paulette Adams

Local artists seeks help getting her art supplies back after a smash and grab of her car last Saturday

 “Someone bashed in the passenger side window of my car and stole art supplies, including two Crown Royal bags with handmade seashell molds that I’d really like to get back,” Adams said.

Also stolen was a large turquoise and brown paisley print quilted turquoise satchel with glazes and a brown newsprint design carry on.

Police Files Artist car broken into

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of Paulette Adams

Adams’ latest ceramic creation using her seashell molds

Adams is seeking the public’s help. 

“If you see them along the side of the road or in the alley, please let me know,” Adams posted on Nextdoor. 

Read more Police Files on our Front Page I – click here

Police Files

Brawl with a bus? Man punches and breaks bus window for no apparent reason

On Wednesday, Jan 9, at 12:50 p.m., at the 300 block of Broadway Street, an LBPD officer was flagged down at the Bus Depot by an OCTA bus driver in regards to a male subject who had allegedly just punched and broken the window of his bus.

Police Files Perez“Officers contacted homeless subject Elvis Perez, who is on formal parole for battery. A private person arrest was requested by the OCTA bus driver and Perez was arrested for violating the terms of his parole. He was transported to LBPD for booking and transported to OC Jail,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said.

Elvis Perez, 54, Laguna Beach, was arrested for vandalism and violating parole.

No bail was set.

Laguna man alleges late night abuse at Brooks Street, pepper sprays suspect

On Saturday, Jan 12, at 12:41 a.m., LBPD officers responded to Brooks Street and S Coast Highway for a report of a battery that had allegedly just occurred. 

“The RP/victim, 57, said the suspect, 46, punched him in the jaw and shoulder and threatened him if he saw him again,” Sgt Cota said.

 According to police records, the suspect reportedly said he would kill the RP and threatened that “he knows where he lives.”

“The suspect took off after the altercation, but before he fled, the victim pepper sprayed the suspect. The two have a past history in which one of their altercations led to charges being filled,” Sgt Cota said.

Charges were filed in a previous incident in April 2018.

The suspect was located a short distance from the altercation and detained. After the investigation, the victim decided not to press charges. A report was taken to document the incident.

Stolen vehicle lands three El Monte men in jail

On Saturday, Jan 12, at 1:37 a.m., an LBPD dispatcher advised officers of a stolen vehicle inbound on Laguna Canyon Road. Officers saw the white 2017 Honda Accord at 650 Laguna Canyon Road, at which point the vehicle made a U-turn at the light and headed back out the canyon. 

A traffic stop was initiated and the vehicle yielded just prior to Canyon Acres.

“Three occupants were detained. The driver, Geovany Martinez, was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle. The front seat passenger, Enrique Llamas, was arrested for an outstanding warrant. The rear seat passenger, Sergio Vera, was arrested for possession of narcotic paraphernalia. Llamas also had what appeared to be stolen mail and checks,” Sgt Cota said.

Police Files Mugs

Photos courtesy of LBPD

Geovany Martinez, Enrique Llamas, and Sergio Vera

Geovany Daniel Martinez, 26, El Monte, was arrested for felony vehicle theft. Sergio Arturo Vera, 24, El Monte, was arrested for being in possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, and Enrique Llamas, 25, El Monte, was arrested on an undisclosed warrant.

“Additional investigation from detectives is needed,” Sgt Cota said. 

Bail was set at $20,000 for Martinez, $30,000 for Llamas, and $500 for Vera.

Timber, driver hits fallen tree blocking S Coast Hwy

On Saturday, Jan 12, at 4:31 a.m., LBPD received a call in reference to a non-injury traffic collision involving a blue Mini Cooper that hit a tree in the road at the 30600 block of S Coast Hwy. According to police reports, “The RP hit a tree and his windshield is messed up.”

 According to police notes, the tree was blocking lanes and already in the road when the reporting person unexpectedly ran into it.

“Calling for tree removal. The tree is blocking lanes #1 and #2 both northbound and southbound and the sidewalk.”

Caltrans was notified and the tree was removed.

Police Files

Zzzzzzz, drunk man crashes in stranger’s bed

On Tuesday, Jan 1, at 9:44 p.m., LBPD officers responded to a residence on Lower Cliff Drive for a report of an unknown male subject inside the reporting person’s apartment, asleep in his bed. 

LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said, “Officers arrived and contacted the subject, identified as Christopher Crabtree. An investigation was conducted and Crabtree told officers he was currently in Los Angeles at his friend’s apartment.”

 According to Sgt Cota, the reporting person told officers he just wanted Crabtree out of his residence.

“Crabtree was displaying signs of alcohol intoxication and based on his inability to understand the current situation he was arrested for public intoxication,” Sgt Cota said.

Bail was set at $500.

Welcome mat revoked after “friends” enter house, refuse to leave

On Sunday, Jan 6, at 8:55 p.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to a keep the peace call on Catalina Street. Officers were informed that two men had come into the reporting person’s residence without permission and were refusing to leave. 

“Officers arrived on scene and located [two suspects] inside of the house. Prior to the officer’s arrival, the other subject had left the property, but [Olando] Edie stayed to confront officers,” Sgt Cota said.

The reporting person wanted to press charges against anyone still inside of the residence. 

“Officers contacted Edie, but he still refused to leave and was arrested for violation of trespassing,” Sgt Cota said.

According to police reports, the two subjects were friends of the reporting person’s father, who was out of town. The reporting person called his dad and his dad said they weren’t supposed to be there. “He said he was invited over five years ago, not now.”

Olando Dave Edie, 35, Midway City, was arrested for trespassing.

According to LBPD, both suspects apprehended have a history with LBPD.

“The officers were very familiar with both. They have come and gone throughout the years,” Sgt Cota said.

Bail was set at $500.

Man arraigned by OCDA for criminal threats against Laguna customer will face pretrial hearing Feb 4

Mitchell Ralph Todd, 51, of Huntington Beach, pled not guilty during an arraignment on Friday, Dec 28, to charges that he made criminal threats against a Laguna Beach man, his client, in November. 

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, at the time of the alleged crimes, Todd was the owner of OC Doves and was hired by the victim to release doves at his son’s funeral. Based upon an alleged dispute on the day of the funeral involving scheduling and payment, Todd did not render his services nor was he paid. 

On Monday, Nov 10, Todd is accused of requesting payment from the victim. The next day, he is accused of leaving the victim a series of threatening text messages and voicemails and further demanding payment.

According to Sgt Cota, Todd first threatened with court proceedings, but quickly appeared to become upset and further threatened to have specific people come to his work and to his relatives’ home until he was paid.

In the last voicemail left for the victim, Todd is accused of recording the sound of a handgun slide being pulled back and released as if chambering a round.

During a search of Todd’s house, LBPD, who investigated this case, located 57 firearms, nearly 30,000 rounds of ammunition, over 100 magazines, a practice bomb, several body armors, swords, and Nazi paraphernalia.

Todd’s pre-trial hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Feb 4 at the Harbor Justice Center.

Todd is charged with one felony count of criminal threats. The maximum sentence he faces is three years in state prison.

Police Files

Man hit by car on S Coast Hwy while allegedly intoxicated dies

William Edward Hemphill, 68, Laguna Beach, never recovered from his injuries after he fell onto S Coast Hwy while allegedly intoxicated and was hit by a car. Hemphill passed away on Friday, Jan 4 at Mission Hospital – Mission Viejo, according to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota.

On Wednesday, Dec 26, at 7:21 p.m., LBPD and LBFD responded to an injury traffic collision involving a vehicle versus a pedestrian on S Coast Hwy between Laguna Avenue and Legion Street, in the southbound lanes.

Hemphill was unconscious upon arrival at the hospital and according to reports, never regained consciousness. 

In a previous interview, Sgt Cota said, “After speaking to witnesses and the driver involved in the collision, it was established the pedestrian, William Hemphill, was heavily intoxicated.” According to witness reports, “Hemphill staggered into the roadway and was struck by a vehicle.”

According to LBPD, the driver of the vehicle did not display any signs or symptoms of alcohol intoxication.

Animal Files

Trained falcon hired to deter seagulls at the Montage attacks hotel guest’s small dog in pool area

As reported in Stu News on Friday, Jan 4, on Sunday, Dec 30, at 2:45 p.m., at the 30800 block of S Coast Hwy, LBPD received a report of “a wild bird attacking people and dogs.” According to reports, the distressed reporting person “was yelling at security and stated she fell and scraped her knees and hands.” 

According to LBPD Civilian Services Administrator Jim Beres, “The incident occurred at the Montage in the outdoor pool area. The ‘wild bird’ was actually a falcon hired by the Montage to deter seagulls from hanging around the resort. The professional falconer hired by the Montage released his falcon, and rather than focusing on the seagulls as the falcon is trained to do, the falcon instead attacked a Montage guest’s small dog in the pool area. The dog’s owner interceded in an attempt to protect her dog from the falcon, and she tripped and fell while trying to protect her dog. The female hotel guest sustained some kind of injury due to falling down.” 

Because the incident happened on private property and no crime was committed, it was a private civil matter between the injured guest, the Montage, and the contract falconer.

Police Files (Cont.)

Man arrested for robbery with $100,000 bail after allegedly stealing one can of beer from Circle K

On Tuesday, Jan 1, at 12:22 a.m., LBPD officers were dispatched to Circle K, at 885 Glenneyre Street, in reference to a theft investigation. The subject was described as wearing a hat, a blue sweater, and grey sweatpants.

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “Michael Matekel took a single can of Coors beer and started to exit the store. The clerk approached Matekel and attempted to remove the beer from him. A struggle ensued and Matekel fled the store with the beer.”

 Officers arrived and detained Matekel in the area of S Coast Hwy and Anita Street. Matekel was positively identified as the suspect. 

“It was determined the elements of robbery were met. Matekel was subsequently taken into custody and transported to OC Jail,” Sgt Cota said.

Michael Hayes Matekel, 30, was arrested for felony robbery.

Bail was set at $100,000.

Animal Files

9 lives indeed, cat stuck in storm drain rescued

On Sunday, Dec 30, at 10:22 a.m., at the 1900 block at Catalina Street, LBPD and Animal Services received a call about a “cat stuck in the storm drain, trapped.” 

Public Works was called to respond and assist opening the storm drain. 

The cat’s owner was on scene as was Public Works.

Luckily, the cat had nine lives (eight now) and the incident has a holiday feel good ending. “The cat was released to the owner.” Purrfect!

Wild bird gone rogue attacks people & pets

On Sunday, Dec 30, at 2:45 p.m., at the 30800 block of S Coast Hwy, LBPD received a report of “a wild bird attacking people and dogs.” According to police reports, the reporting person stated she “fell and scraped her knees and hands while she tried to get the…” [presumably heck out of there].

Stay tuned…we will be following up with Animal Services for more details on both of these incidents, which we hope to publish next week. 

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