A small terrier mix underwent detox for heroin, methamphetamine and tobacco after Tustin police rescued the pup during a drug arrest at a local motel.
Police issued a patrol check at about 9 a.m. March 22 at a motel in the16000 block of El Camino Real and an officer took note of a suspicious man in the parking lot.
Officer Jeremy Laurich learned the man had a warrant out for his arrest and also was on parole, which prompted the officer to search the suspect and his room, where he found the man was keeping a small dog.
Laurich found about five needles loaded with heroin, about 10 uncapped empty needles, 13 grams of heroin, 1.6 grams of meth and 11 grams of marijuana, he said.
The dog, named Bubba, seemed a little lethargic so, as is protocol in these cases, Laurich called Orange County Animal Care Center to pick up the dog.
An investigator with the OCAC called Laurich two hours later to report they had reason to believe Bubba was under the influence of drugs and they needed to run some tests.
“(Bubba’s) results came back positive for meth, heroin and tobacco,” Laurich said.
The officer added it is unknown how the narcotics got into the dog’s system.
The OCAC findings prompted prosecutors to tack on animal cruelty charges to the man’s suspected drug offenses, he said.
OCAC Assistant Director Katie Ingram said although they can’t talk details about the case because it’s pending, they are grateful to partner with the police so animal abusers can be held accountable.
“It’s nice to be in communication with the police department so we can prosecute animal cruelty and, at the same time, help protect these animals from this kind of treatment,” Ingram said. “These cases are so disturbing and hopefully our work can help bring someone to justice.”
Joshua West, 40, was booked into the Orange County Jail on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia, drug possession, an outstanding warrant, a probation violation and animal cruelty.
Bubba is still being treated and cared for at the OCAC and Ingram said he is recovering. Once he is healthy, he will likely be placed with a rescue organization to find a new home.
Ingram forecasts Bubba will be scooped up quickly.
“He’s a staff favorite for sure,” Ingram said. “It’s reassuring to know people in our community want to help special needs animals.”