Would like opinions owner looking for dog church saved

lisa11310August 17, 2011

HI. I posted about a church saving a dog. We found a dog that had a bad leg and Pastor brought it into the church. I was able to find someone to take the dog who was a retired vet tech and could get the dog medical attention (and has re homed the dog). The dog has a flea allergy and really badly infected skin & also has a broken leg that just dangles. It is an old break that was never attended to. The dog has been trying to chew his leg off. Today I get a flyer in my mail box. Somebody is actually looking for this dog!!! I called the lady who is giving this dog a forever home and is getting him the medical attention he needs. She said she would never give this neglected dog back to the owners. What would you do????

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You already did it:
You told the person who has the dog.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 4:17PM
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You know Silvia, your right. I was never in possession of the dog. I just made contact with a stranger that is qualified to care for him. It is not my decision to make. Now should I contact the owners (anonymously) to let them know the dog has been rescued and will have a good life?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 5:23PM
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There are an endless number of ways in which a dog can become separated from his home, and most of them don't involve neglect or abuse. Without knowing the circumstances, there's no way to make a fair or knowledgeable judgment of this dog's owners. If you want to be fair to everyone involved, including the dog, find out how and when the dog became separated from his home. Assuming that the dog has had an xray done of his broken leg, the vet should be able to guesstimate the time of the break based on any remodeling of the bone. That should, at least, give you a way of determining whether or not the leg was broken while under the owner's care. Interviewing the owner will tell you whether the owner knew of the break and was perhaps seeking veterinary care when the dog disappeared.

The bottom line is that you don't know enough about the situation to know whether this dog's owners are irresponsible or not. If one of my dogs was injured and got away from me before I could get him to the vet, and if he surfaced again some time later, I would be frantic to get him back under my loving care. It would both break my heart and infuriate me if someone who knew nothing about me jumped to the worst possible conclusion and deliberately withheld one of my family members from me at a time when that family member needed me the most.

This dog was compassionately taken in by a church. Doesn't this church preach compassion and non-judgment toward fellow human beings, as well?


    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 5:34PM
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"The dog has a flea allergy and really badly infected skin & also has a broken leg that just dangles. It is an old break that was never attended to."

It doesn't sound like the dog's medical needs are ever being attended to so it's likely the "owner" can't afford proper vet care. I would just keep quiet, because it sounds like this dog is better off in it's new home and has finally had some much needed vet attention.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 12:32AM
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Hi Laurie, This was my first concern, we are a Church. Pastor found this dog on Saturday morning 8-13-11. The flyer says this dog went missing Friday 8-12-11. The condition suggests the dog has been neglected for quite some time. The flyer says it is 6 months old, that tells me he has been neglected all of his life. Other than directions as to where he was lost this is the exact verbiage on the flyer. "Australian Terrier, Reddish tan, named Moose, Pointed ears, cropped tail, shy, indoor puppy crate trained and * left front leg is lame, just dangles..is useless". SO pup's leg could have been damaged at birth? what about the horrid flea infestation on a dog with a flea allergy that was not treated? Maybe they were good Samaritans that took him in or are keeping a lame dog from a litter one of their dogs had? The fact that the dog has not had any medical treatment has me leaning to not telling the owners where he is. This dog is going to need surgery. If the previous owners did not seek attention for his skin condition I'm sure they are not going to spend $$ to fix his leg. The tissue is dying and the dog is chewing it off. These folks may care about the dog but may not have the means to care for it..I just don't know. I want to let them know their dog is safe but they wont be getting it back...

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 12:49AM
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I'm sorry that trying to do a good deed has left you in this predicament. It sounds like you may not have been privy to what the vet said when he/she examined the dog. Did the woman who took the dog in share the details?

Why I am asking is that I rescued a kitten from my front flower bed many years ago and she was lame in one of her front legs. When I took her in to the vet, he said she had brachial palsy. It's an injury an animal can get when the nerves of its brachial plexus is harmed in the birth process or even before. Short of really specialist nerve surgery with questionable outcomes there is nothing they can do for it other than hope the function returns on its own and my vet says nerve repair is very slow and he'd recommend 'sitting on it' to see if it doesn't start to heal on its own, reserving amputation as a last resort. He casted her leg but she kept getting repeat infections where the nails would grown into her flesh under the cast and eventually we had to amputate. Had she not had this problem just letting it dangle was an option. There is a chance this might have been the circumstances of this dog's leg, and if he was not used to being outside, three or four days of wandering is enough time for injuries, infections and tissue death to start. A vet should be able to ascertain how old those injuries are, however and probably a tech could as well.

And how many really responsible and caring pet owners have raised questions on this board about skin conditions their dogs have and are resistant to treatment? I had a little lhasa whom I poured months and mega money into with horrible skin problems until my vet hit on the proper diagnoses and treated him with antibiotics. It was a resistant bacterial infection and had nothing to do with fleas or flea allergies or neglect.

You don't know the circumstances. I know what I would do and it's a pity the new owner doesn't do it, and that is to contact the party who lost this dog, and tell them she has it and that she has already invested expenses into caring for it. If the new owner is so convinced that the dog had been abused then she should contact a humane officer and let them persue the issue or let her hash it out herself with the previous owners.

Somebody needs to tell the people searching for this dog that it has been found and be upfront about it and they need to know its where it can be found and it doesn't have to be anonymously. The person who took this animal has been around long enough to know the routine and take responsibility for their actions even if they were legitimate and for all the right reasons. You don't need to feel guilty about finding it a home, nor obliged to the woman who took it in. But it isn't fair to the owners to never know what happened to it. If you got a flyer in your mail box then they are actively looking for it and they wouldn't be if it isn't valuable or they didn't give a flying fig. Tell them where you took it and let the lady who has it do what she feels is right. There isn't any need to be secretive to avoid anything. What is right isn't always what is easiest. If she can prove the animal has been abused or neglected, the authorities can sort it out.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 3:07AM
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Wow, I was dead-set on saying you should NOT tell the flyer maker until I read some of these other compelling posts. Is there any way you, someone else, or you and someone else can discreetly scope out the previous owner(s) by talking to neighbors or maybe even directly to them and tell them you thought you saw the dog and would like to get a better picture - something like that? Or you could say you're animal lovers and want to help find him. I'm afraid you'd have to do some "acting." Most of the time, neighbors are aware if a pet is neglected or mistreated. I've lived in all different socioeconomic neighborhoods and seen all kinds of situations with pets, so, yeah, I guess you really shouldn't jump to conclusions. But, on the other hand, if this dog is better off, I'd leave it where it is. I've known many pets of neighbors that I'd wished had a better home. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of this dog, tho, however it turns out; I hope you will keep us posted.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 12:06PM
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Calliope makes some excellent points. The owners need to be contacted and if the new owner wants a 3rd party as mediator she should do so by contacting the humane society first.

Since a church took in the dog, I'm sure the whole congregation knows about the dog. One way or the other, someone is going to call the owner and let them know the dog was found so it's best to be up front with everything now before the confusion starts.

I would let the owners know the amount of money that has been spent on the dog and inform them of the vet's diagnosis on the leg. If they really care and want the dog back, they'll pay the expenses. If they say they're willing to leave the dog in the new home, then have them sign a statement saying they're relinquishing the dog.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 12:35PM
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Personally I wouldn't contact the owner. I've seen too much neglect to have any sympathy for the owners. And I'd pray they don't get another pet.

The condition of the dog speaks for itself. It's possible the skin condition can be overlooked, but a long broken leg left untreated? I call baloney on that.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 1:22PM
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Good points. I did try to locate the owners to do a drive by so to speak, however the flyer contained only a cell phone number and a first name, no address. We are out in the woods where there are no zoning laws so there are nice houses and there are tar paper shacks, some of the folks out here make me hear banjos, where a dog with fleas and a lame leg is just a way of life. The lady that has the dog said it was infested with fleas. She is a retired vet tech and owns a kennel and grooming biz. I am sure she could tell if there was any kind of treatment going on. The dog was only loose for a day is that enough time for a severe infestation? I really do feel bad for the owners. I called and left a message stating that their dog had been found and is safe. At least they will not have to worry about it getting hit or attacked by something out here. I don't know how many people Pastor talked to about the dog. I believe it was Gods plan to get this pup some help. I will leave it in his hands to decide where his home will be. If they are determined enough to find it I'm sure they will. (If it were me I would be calling every vet in the area). If they do find him the two parties can work it out themselves. For now I am bowing out. Thanks for all your thoughts.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 1:22PM
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They have been notified the dog was found. That's as far as I would go. The dog should not go back to people who treat him as they did. Flea infestations take all summer to reach that point, not a day, and as for the leg, that's sad.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 4:14PM
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