Dogs of Engaged Couple Killed in Crash With DUI Suspect Seek New Home

Two dogs belonging to a couple killed in a car crash involving a DUI suspect are seeking a new forever home.

Aaron McDonald, 31, and Irene Jaramillo, 30, were killed when their car was struck by another vehicle, driven by Alejandro Canchola, 24, at the intersection of Cedar Avenue and Randall Avenue in California about 12:57 a.m. on Saturday, April 2.

Canchola was being pursued at high speed through Rialto by police officers having earlier failed to yield to their request to conduct a traffic stop. The collision occurred when the suspect ran a red light at the Randall Avenue intersection, resulting in a collision with McDonald and Jaramillo's car.

McDonald and Jaramillo were traveling back from a party together at the time of the incident. They were taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center following the crash but later died as a result of their injuries.

Canchola suffered minor injuries. He is now facing murder charges and has been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to an online fundraiser set up by close friend Hilda Lorena Aguilera to help cover their funeral expenses,McDonald and Jaramillo "loved each other so much and were in the works of planning a wedding for this summer."

It has now emerged that their dogs, Apollo and Rocky, who are Cane Corso and Pitbull Mix breeds, have been surrendered to the local Riverside County Animal Shelter with the couple's family unable to care for the two canines.

According to a post shared to the Saving Riverside Shelter Dogs Facebook page, family members "had a difficult time handling Apollo" who is described as being "very protective" and had to be "sedated by animal control to be brought to the shelter."

As a result, staff at the Riverside Shelter are seeking someone who is experienced and "extremely breed savvy" to provide the dogs with a new loving home.

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Riverside Animal Service Chief John Walsh told Newsweek that the dogs remain in their care and are due to be fully assessed by one of their senior behaviorists.

This assessment will determine whether Rocky and Apollo are suitable for adoption or better candidates for one of more than 400 rescue partner organizations linked to the shelter. An outcome is expected by April 15.

Walsh said: "It's truly heartbreaking that two young people lost their lives due to what appears to be an act of extreme recklessness.

"Two people died and now two dogs have lost their caretakers who loved and doted upon these animals. We will do all we can to try to rehome these pets and that includes working with our amazing rescue partner organizations."

News of Rocky and Apollo's plight has spread far and wide on social media. In a Facebook post Ron Nuckles shared information about their plight, urging followers to "Please help try to find homes for these two dogs."

At the time of writing, his post has been shared or commented on over 4,000 times with dog lovers flooding the comments with messages of support.

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Maritza Gonzalez said: "Please adopt them out together. Poor guys...they both look sad like they know something isn't right." Diana Hamilton said the situation was "beyond horrible" adding: "I can't imagine what these dogs are going through."

Elsewhere, Laura Christian commented: "I hope these two babies stay together." while Sandra Lee McGinnis wrote: " I will pray for another loving home for these two babies together to help them get over the loss of their family."

In addition to the Facebook appeals, an online fundraiser has also been launched appealing for donations to help pay for the care of the canines.

At the time of writing, the PayPal fundraiser set up by West Coast Cane Corso Rescue, had generated $1,295 towards an initial $7,000 target.

Apollo and Rocky the dogs.
Apollo and Rocky - the two dogs belonging to Aaron McDonald and Irene Jaramillo have been put up for adoption after their owners were tragically killed. Riverside County Department of Animal Services