More than illegal: How dumping your dog creates problems


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Dogs and puppies– they’re a part of our family.

But whether you have financial trouble, a death in the family, or just simply cannot take care of one, dogs are often found stranded and fending for themselves.

KOLR10’s Frances Lin spoke to Rescue One and The Humane Society.

She learned turning your back on your pet creates problems you may have never considered, both to the dogs and the rescues.

Local rescues simply don’t have enough resources or fosters to take them all in.

“We’re volunteer-based, so we only have so much foster homes,” said Michele Rehkop, a foster at Rescue One.

“With Spring coming up, we see a lot of puppies at this point,” said Karen Foutch, director of development at the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri.

“We’ll get an influx of dogs because the Christmas puppies aren’t so cute anymore, they get dumped,” explained Rick Headlee, another foster at Rescue One, “that’s why we discourage giving puppies for Christmas presents.”

Rehkop, Headlee and Foutch said they see abandoned dogs all the time.

“We’re having animals come in and they have BB shots, we’re pulling bullet fragments from them,” Foutch said.

Some people dump their dogs because they behave aggressively, Headlee said, “so they just kick them out, on the road, basically.”

But Rehkop said with a bit of training and patience, they could become a well-behaved family member, “it takes time for them to learn to trust, and be a little more relaxed, and adjust to their new environment.”

Dumping dogs can cause serious physical and emotional pain, “equated to a four-year-old child being lost out in the woods,” Headlee said, “it’s stressful for the dog to be separated from their pack, from their people, from their other dog.”

“When you have below freezing temperatures day in and day out and she’s not getting that food, and she doesn’t have adequate shelter, she could die,” said Rehkop.

Foutch also said the animals are usually pretty confused the first few days that they’ve been dropped off, “we give them the love and care and really we spoil them completely, especially at that very first initial time.”

“It’s really sad sometimes when we see a dog brought here to the office and surrendered, there are people get in the car and drive off, and the dog will run to the door and paw at it, wanting to get out,” Headlee said.

But, it’s still better than leaving them out in the wild for rescues to find, we run the risk of being injured ourselves because we don’t know what we’re walking into and what type of animal it’s going to be,” said Rehkop.

“By the time they do get to us, something that would have been a simple process, make sure the vaccinations are good and we’ll go ahead and get them on the adoption floor is now turned into a major medical case, cost us hundreds if not what we see thousands of dollars,” Foutch said.

Which is a cost that’s hard for a non-profit to absorb.

“Please do not just expect someone else to care for an animal by just dumping it on the side of the road somewhere,” said Foutch.

Getting your dogs to exercise, walking them, having a yard for them to run in will also help behavioral problems.

We also want to remind you that it is illegal to dump your dogs.

It violates animal cruelty and neglect laws.

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