Earlier this week I photos to the media of dogs who barely resembled dogs. Horribly neglected dogs in the worst condition we’ve seen. I shared these photos with reporters and news agencies, expecting they would broadcast this story. And, I’m sharing them here, again.
If you don’t know the story, our organization was called to a San Bruno condo complex last Saturday morning by their security for “two sick dogs…probably abandoned.”
That call did little to prepare our officer for what she would soon find. We didn’t even think to send one of our investigators, as it sounded like a routine stray dog call.
The two dogs were unable to walk. What was immediately obvious to our responding officer was their urine-soaked matting, caked with fist-sized clumps of dried feces and weighing almost as much as the dogs themselves when removed after they were humanely euthanized. She also noted compound fractures and signs of obvious long-term suffering. Neither dog had identification tags or a microchip.
Upon examination by our veterinarian back at the shelter, we learned more. One dog, a female approximately 3-4 years old, had a compound fracture of the front left leg with an exposed bone stump rounded at the edges, indicating an older untreated injury. The remnant of the fractured leg was stuck to the body by severe matting. This dog had a fractured right pelvis and was missing its front right paw; this was evident only upon taking X-rays, as the legs were too matted to make out details.
The second dog, an emaciated male approximately 10 years old, had a pronounced heart murmur, extremely enlarged heart, an untreated fracture of the rear left leg and severely bowed front legs, indicating long-term malnourishment. This dog weighed just over eight pounds after more than six pounds of matted fur were removed.
The dogs, unable to even walk upon intake, received pain medication immediately and due to their overwhelmingly horrific medical conditions, PHS/SPCA’s veterinarian determined that euthanasia was the only humane option. As a result, sadly, the animals were euthanized later that day.
What we provided in their last few hours was very likely the only compassion these dogs had received in months, if not years.
Why share all this with local media and hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents?
Believe me, we’re much more comfortable sharing feel-good news about our new center opening, about special events, record numbers of adoptions and another consecutive year finding homes for 100% of the healthy dogs and cats in our care.
We needed to tell this story – including graphic photos – and offer a $5,000 reward for information leading the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for a few reasons.
First and foremost, we want to know what happened. Someone knows something. But, punishment isn’t our primary motivator. That won't change what happened to these dogs. The person who dumped these dogs could have other pets who are also suffering. And, one theory is that this is an unstable person unable to care for him or herself.
I gave multiple interviews this past Tuesday. KGO-Radio, NBC-Bay Area, KTVU and most print media. And, I found myself using sickened, deeply saddened, tragic, cruel and cowardly to describe the situation. Reporters wondered how someone could toss their dogs out like trash. If they were unable to provide care, why didn’t they give them to a shelter? How could they allow the prolonged suffering?
People my age watched Columbo growing up. He scratched his head a lot, bumbled and stammered, worked at a turtle’s pace, but always solved the case, usually with the tiniest thread of a seemingly random clue. These days, shows like CSI give the impression that all crimes can be solved; of course, they do it with good-looking people and the coolest technology.
It will be huge news if we find out what happened and who was responsible. We could use Columbo right about now or some of those sleek investigative gadgets. Or, just one person to come forward with helpful information.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact the Peninsula Humane Society tip line at 650-340-7022, ext. 384.