Abandoned dog clear showing of owner disregard
The lone black Labrador retriever stood chained to a tree on an undeveloped lot on Riverside Avenue.
“Homeless” was inscribed on the piece of cardboard leaning against the tree.
The dog’s yelps were heard by passersby who could only feel sorrow for the dog and guilt about their own inability to help.
It was a grim picture that emphasized the level of commitment needed to own a dog.
The dog’s name is Tyson, according to the cardboard sign. He’s 5 years old and loves kids.
Tyson was abandoned sometime before noon Tuesday on a lot located around the corner from Four Paws Boarding Kennel.
Kennel workers brought Tyson inside for the afternoon until El Dorado County Animal Control officers picked him up.
The animal shelter keeps stray dogs for three days before putting them up for adoption.
In July, 10 of the 50 unclaimed dogs that passed through the shelter were adopted, while 28 were euthanized, said Animal Control Officer Ruthie Cecchettini. The others are still available for adoption until the shelter runs out of room for them.
Authorities do not know why Tyson’s owner(s) abandoned the dog.
If they are found, they could be prosecuted for cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor punishable by fines or county jail.
“To abandon an animal like that is like walking away from a child,” Cecchettini said. “Animals have feelings.”
“These people (the owners) are pushing their guilt on someone else,” she added. “They wanted someone else to be responsible for their stupidity or their inability to care for their animal.”
Cecchettini said it is common to see or hear about abandoned pets. Often, they are set loose.
A lack of funding forced the Lake Tahoe Humane Society in February 1996 to close its shelter.
County Animal Control officials have set up an adoption program, but not all abandoned or lost dogs are claimed. Those that are not adopted are euthanized.
“It’s not something we like to do or something we do lightly, but it’s a fact,” Cecchettini said.
She and others say it is important for potential pet owners to understand the level of commitment that goes along with owning a dog before buying or adopting one.
And it’s important to understand the habits of different types of dogs.
A person who wants a dog they can keep in their home should not select an animal bred to run, like a Labrador or a husky.
“Don’t get a pet if you don’t have a solid place where the animal can live for its whole life,” said Cathy Adamson, owner of the Four Paws kennel. “And try to find a pet that fits your lifestyle.”
Pets should also be spayed or neutered.
If putting the dog up for adoption is unavoidable, experts urge owners to make arrangements with friends or neighbors or post advertisements about the animal.
Turning the pet over to Animal Control is seen as a better option than abandonment – which leaves an animal susceptible to starvation, illness or attack by other animals.
“That (abandonment) is the absolute worse thing you could do for your dog,” said Dawn Armstrong, executive director of the Humane Society. “With all the bad things that can happen, the chances of something good happening are small.”
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