WARSAW – Animal Welfare League has been inundated with calls, texts and social media comments after a dog was abandoned outside its facility and tied to the building with a leash.
The female Mastiff was found tethered to a door Tuesday morning, Feb. 25, after two people were caught on video leaving the dog behind at the shelter east of Warsaw along US 30.
The dog had been left outside for nine hours and tied to the building on a short leash without any water.
An AWL Facebook post and story in InkFreeNews detailing the situation spurred hundreds of comments expressing concerns.
“It’s ballooning. We’re getting emails, Facebook messages, people wanting to foster and adopt,” said Sally Scott, executive director at AWL.
“It’s fabulous to see the outpouring from the community,” said Beth Harrison, AWL’s board president, who was working at the shelter Wednesday morning.
The dog was so upset when AWL staff arrived Tuesday morning that they could not use the door the dog was tied to.
The dog is now housed inside the shelter, but remains upset.
“She’s terrified,” Scott said. “We have some volunteers accustomed to larger dogs that have been coming in. They’re going to be coming in on a regular basis to spend time with her to build that trust.”
“It’s going to be a long road,” she said.
While many expressed concern for the dog, some questioned why the new shelter does not have a cage that can be used during off-hours for the public to drop off animals.
Scott said that practice at the previous shelter caused problems. According to Scott, some of those caged animals ended up being taken while others escaped.
Leaving the dog on a short leash was a bad idea because it could get the leash twisted around its neck and choke. It also could be preyed upon by other animals, Scott said.
Scott said the ideal situation for people who find animals after business hours is to keep the pet until morning.
If it is an emergency and the shelter is closed, the public can call Warsaw Police or Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office, both of which have officers who can pick up the animal and take into an interior holding area at AWL, Scott said.
Scott said they plan to upgrade signage outside of the shelter to let the public know they can contact police when the shelter is closed.
Complicating the dog’s circumstances is that staff personnel know nothing about the dog.
When people surrender their animals, Scott said the shelter always prefers to have some background so they can better accommodate its needs. Details such as injuries, issues of aggressiveness and allergies are helpful.
Even knowing the animal’s name is key. By being able to address the animal with its name, the shelter can establish a sense of trust, which can help calm the animal, Scott said.
AWL was also contacted by a family claiming to be the owners, but officials have not yet verified that claim. If the family seeks to reclaim the dog, they will be offered a discounted rate to have a chip implanted, Scott said.
Scott said they will continue to update the dog’s situation on its Facebook page.