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Heavy Interest In Puppy Tied To Train Tracks Crashes Animal Services Website

RIVERSIDE ( — Interest in Banjo, a 10-month old poodle-terrier mix found tied to train tracks in Mecca, has been so extensive, the Riverside County Animal Services website crashed Wednesday.

John Welsh, senior public information officer for Riverside County Animal Services, said interest in the dog has "exploded." He says they have been "flooded with calls ... from across the country."

Welsh said, "Banjo is currently being fostered by our veterinary technician, Jo Marie Upegui. She takes him home each night to help work on his shyness and to keep the dog familiar with other people and other animals. She reports that he loves her other dogs."

Would-be adopters are asked to write:

Welsh says they plan to narrow down a list of ten finalists by the end of this week and then announce Banjo's new home, "by early next week, we hope."

Riverside officials are not pursuing animal cruelty charges against the 78-year-old man who tied Banjo to the train tracks. Welsh said the man is likely senile. "He spoke gibberish" during his interview, Welsh said. "The man could easily be demonstrating signs of Alzheimer's or dementia. We do not know for sure. But [a] special agent was going to be in touch with adult protective services to make sure that the man's family was going to be held accountable."

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