Taos Bark

Pet abandonment linked to high cost of care, financial stress


This story had such an impact on me that I had to share it with you.

It is a story of an elderly couple devoted to their dog. In this case, it does have a happy ending.

The elderly couple left their 13 ½-year-old dachshund tied outside of the Baldwin Park Animal Shelter near Los Angeles, California. They left a note asking for him to be put to sleep because they could not afford to care for him. Thanks to help from shelter staff, they’ll be reunited with the dog.

According to a report from Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell of Pet360.com, the note read, “Our dog is 13 ½ years old he is sick starting yesterday with bloody stools, vomiting. Had a skin disease for a few years. We are both seniors, sick with no money. We cannot pay for vet bills, or to put him to sleep. He has never been away from us in all those years, he cannot function without us, please put him to sleep.”

Fivecoat-Campbell writes that instead of euthanizing the dog, shelter workers called Leave No Paws Behind, Inc., an all-breed, all-foster-based rescue that specializes in seniors. The organization picked up the dog and initially named him Harley. “When the dog was taken to a veterinarian, it was determined he could not only be treated, but most likely had a ‘couple of more years’ left in him, according to an update on the organization’s Facebook page,” she writes.

The rescue group reached out to the dog’s owners to see if they could be reunited.  

“When the dog owners came forward, they explained they are indeed both sick and cannot even afford their medical treatments or tires for their vehicle,” according to the Pet360.comarticle. “They had taken their dog, who is actually named Otto Wolfgang Maximus, to a veterinarian and were told that they would need to run costly tests. When they realized they couldn’t even afford to have their dog euthanized by the vet, they were ‘hysterical’ and didn’t know what else to do aside from leaving him at the shelter.”

The rescue organization believed Otto’s owners loved him and that the trio should be reunited. “Ninety-eight percent of the rescues we take in belong with us,” said Toby Wisneski, founder of Leave No Paws Behind. “There are 1-2 percent of owners who love their animals very much and just believe they have no other option but to surrender them.”

Otto will be returned to the couple, according to the story, but the rescue group will check on him weekly and pay the cost of the food and veterinary care for the rest of the little dog’s life.

Visits to a veterinarian aren’t cheap, nor is euthanasia. In the Pet360.com story, “according to the most recent study by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy a total of 13 percent of the dogs relinquished by owners to shelters is due to the financial inability to care for the animal, personal problems or a pet’s illness. An estimated 1.5-3.5 million animals each year are relinquished to shelters by their owners.”

This may have happened in Los Angeles, but it also is a Taos story. So many pets suffer and die because money is not available. What if we could start a bank account for donations toward vet medical help? Let me know what you think. Ideas are welcome!

For more information, contact taosbark@gmail.com or (575) 613-3448.