By Mickey Zeldes
I’m curious why someone felt that they had to (or should) abandon their four to five-month old Shepherd mix pups by the side of the road rather than bringing them to the shelter. I would really like to talk to the person who did this to try and get some answers to the countless questions that I have regarding this situation.
Clearly this wasn’t a responsible pet owner, as the pups were completely under-socialized – more than could be attributed to the week that they were out running loose in the Community Garden off Snyder Lane. So, I’m assuming they had a female Shepherd and perhaps the male too and she “accidentally” became pregnant and had at least the four pups that we know of. I think you might have seen our Facebook post about the extremely similar dogs that were found the same week in the county area outside Healdsburg. They found seven Shepherd-Husky mix dogs that had the same markings; three pups that were about four to five-months old and four adults. Coincidence? I don’t think so!
The Sonoma County Animal Services is actively asking for help in cracking this case. Someone must have seen a car or person in the Hassett & Lytton Station area of Healdsburg on May 23? Or by the Community Garden off Snyder Lane and Keiser on that same day? Someone must wonder what happened to all the barking dogs in their neighbor’s yard? In addition to enjoying the peace and quiet, you might just make a phone call and report what you know. What makes it so strange is that they waited until the pups were so old. Perhaps there were more in the litter and they were able to place a few but time passed, the pups were getting bigger (these are BIG pups!) and calls of interest were getting less and less frequent. We’ll never know unless the person is found and can explain.
People often think they will be able to make money selling all the pups if they let their dog have a litter but the truth is far from that. Feeding a nursing mom and eight-10 quickly growing pups can be expensive! And since they eat a lot there is an awful lot of clean up required. But abandoning them is illegal and certainly not in the dogs’ best interest. They could have been hit by a car or attacked by predators. If they hadn’t been trapped as quickly as they were, thanks to the persistent efforts of some good Samaritans in the area, they would have become more feral and that much less adoptable.
These were clearly back yard dogs judging by their reaction to being indoors or put on a leash. Fortunatel1y, they are not so fearful that they growl or snap, in fact they would just rather avoid human contact, but once caught you can do anything to them without protest. And with just a week of being in our care we are already seeing a huge difference. Tails are wagging and the pups are approaching people to seek out the treats being offered. They will still be a project for whoever adopts them but if someone has the time to really work with them individually they have the potential to become really great dogs.
And that’s what makes it so sad that someone thought the answer to not being able to keep them was to just drop them off someplace (other than the shelter). We always waive the surrender fee if that is a hardship but that way we would at least get some basic information on the dogs that could be helpful. We could offer spay and neuter for the parent dogs so that this situation doesn’t occur again. And the pups would have gotten socializing and attention from the beginning. Wouldn’t that have been better for everyone?
No More Lost Pets – free microchips and pet ID tags for residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati City. Stop by the shelter during our open hours with your pet to get one! The shelter is open Wed 1-6:30 p.m., Thurs.-Fri-Sat 1-5:30 p.m. and Sun 1-4:30 p.m.
Fix-it Clinics – Free spay and neuters for cats; and $60 dog surgeries (up to 80 lbs.) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.