'Save Sheba' - activists fighting execution order for Running Springs German shepherd

RUNNING SPRINGS, Calif. -- Actress Priscilla Presley and other animal activists are working to save the life of a Running Springs German shepherd that has been ordered destroyed.

San Bernardino County Animal Control has been holding Sheba for more than a year with the intent of putting the dog down.

But efforts to save Sheba have now gotten the attention of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, which has ordered county attorneys to delay a court hearing on the dog's fate.

Sheba escaped from her owner's house and attacked a small dog back in 2018, causing that dog to need surgery.

Animal control warned the owner, Jose "Pepe" Sanchez, that if Sheba attacks another dog she could be confiscated and put in the pound. A short time later, Sheba got out of the house and tried to attack the same small dog. That dog's owner was able to grab it before Sheba could reach the dog.

But it was enough for animal control officers to seize Sheba and deem her a potentially dangerous dog and after a series of hearings, have deemed the 11-year-old shepherd a potentially dangerous dog and ordered it destroyed.

Sanchez is fighting the death sentence in court and has enlisted the help of animal activists like actress Priscilla Presley.

There is an online petition and a website dedicated to saving Sheba.

Supporters say the dog has never attacked humans and only caused minor injuries to the other animal.

"She's 11 years old!" Presley told Eyewitness News. "She's been in there over a year. And she's in a little 5x5 cage. When you see the footage of this dog when she sees Pepe - it brings you to tears."

The 80-year-old Sanchez says he drives 40 miles, three times a week to visit Sheba, bringing her treats.

"She goes crazy," he said. "And then when I'm leaving she just looks at me and I can see that she's crying because I'm crying too."

Animal activist Bruce Krider says he's found three no-kill shelters from other counties that are willing to take in Sheba.

"They guarantee that the dog will be safe, secure and homed in a proper home with a proper setting forever," said Krider.

Curt Hagman, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, says releasing the dog could open the county up to liability issues if Sheba attacks again. But he says the board is now exploring other alternatives to euthanizing the dog.

"I'm hoping that we can find a way to protect our residents against a future lawsuit if something does happen, and at the same time give the dog a second chance at life here," said Hagman.

Sanchez says even if Sheba ends up in a no-kill shelter instead of with him, he'd be happy.

"She took care of me for 10 years. Now I got to take care of her."
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