A six-month-old dog belonging to a man accused of shooting a California Highway Patrol officer and leading police on a 30-mile pursuit — with the puppy in his SUV — is available for adoption, officials said.
“Chip” the husky was turned over to the care of Riverside County Department of Animals Services personnel on Sept. 11, after the canine’s keeper, 30-year-old John Alfred Garcia, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer.
According to animal services spokesman John Welsh, the dog has been housed at the county’s Jurupa Valley Animal Shelter since that time and is ready for a new home.
Welsh said that between now and Sunday, the department will be accepting 500-word essays from prospective adopters saying why they believe they Chip should be theirs and the type of living environment he would have with them.
“We believed that this puppy offered us a unique opportunity to do something,” said Animal Services Director Robert Miller. “This incident was a horrible act against a peace officer. We hope this … helps raise awareness about the dangers all officers face.”
Garcia had Chip in the back of his Cadillac Escalade in the predawn hours of last Sept. 11 when he was stopped by CHP officers on Interstate 10, near Sunset Avenue, in West Covina.
According to the CHP, a patrol unit pulled him over for erratic driving, and when Officer Felix Serpas approached the vehicle, Garcia allegedly exited with a combat-style 12-gauge shotgun, prompting an exchange of gunfire during which both Garcia and Serpas were wounded.
The patrolman was hit in the hand, while Garcia suffered a non-life- threatening wound to the upper body.
The alleged gunman jumped back into his SUV and headed east with officers in pursuit. The chase ended about an hour later near Arrow Boulevard and Citrus Avenue in Fontana, where Garcia surrendered. He’s being held in lieu of $2 million bail at the Twin Towers Jail in Los Angeles, charged with multiple felonies.
Serpas is recovering and expected to return to duty, a CHP spokesman told City News Service.
The husky was named Chip by the CHP officers who found him in Garcia’s vehicle. The dog was placed in the Jurupa Valley shelter because Fontana contracts with Riverside County for animal control services.
According to Welsh, the Department of Animal Services will offer the pup for a $1 adoption fee — a 99.1 percent reduction in the usual rate. However, officials are asking that whoever receives Chip make a $104 donation to the CHP’s 11-99 Foundation, which assists families of CHP officers injured or killed in the line of duty. More information is available at https://chp11- 99.org.
Chip can be seen at the shelter, located at 6851 Van Burn Blvd., where essays may also be hand-delivered. They can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Animal services officials on Monday will announce the person selected to be the dog’s new owner.