February 15, 2011
Cold exposes abandoned dogs
Cortland SPCA treating animals found in Harford Mills, Solon
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Three of six dogs seized on Friday from 90 Route 200 in Harford Mills await transport. On Saturday, the Cortland SPCA picked up an emaciated pit bull believed abandoned in Solon.
An emaciated pit bull found Saturday wandering in Solon after going two weeks without food marks the third local case of animal abandonment in recent months.
Meanwhile, six dogs are on the road to recovery after being rescued Friday from an outdoor kennel in Harford Mills, left without food or water for over a week amid frigid temperatures.
Officers of the Cortland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals find these incidents parallel other neglect cases that have been reported recently around Central New York.
In a separate local case last December, a German shepherd believed to be abandoned was found wandering Route 215 in Cortlandville.
Malnourished and near-frozen dogs left outdoors or abandoned by their owners have made headlines recently also in Utica and Rome.
“Even with all the stuff we’re seeing in the news — is there more of it, or are people just becoming more aware of it?” Cortland SPCA Animal Cruelty Investigator Bill Carr said Monday.
The numbers have not surprised humane officers. The Cortland area averages about six animal abandonment cases reported to the SPCA each year, Carr estimated.
Not all of the cases result in animal cruelty charges. Often the owner agrees to surrender custody of the animals and pay a fine.
Owners who abandon their pets often tell Cortland County humane officers they did not know assistance was available from a shelter and believed there was no other alternative, Carr said.
“Sometimes maybe it is a stray, but based on the areas where the dogs were found, they’re all areas that indicate people drove up and dumped them off,” Carr said.
Other times, people claim they were unable to support their pets due to financial hardships, he said.
“That’s what I always hear and sometimes it’s true, sometimes it’s not,” Carr said. “People who abandon their animals often envision a happy ending and say to themselves it’ll find a good home — but even in good weather, bad things happen.”
The Harford Mills dogs, a mother Labrador-Spaniel mix and her 8-month-old puppies, are being housed at the Cortland SPCA and will undergo veterinary care before they are put up for adoption. One of the puppies is believed to have frostbite.
The pit bull in Solon is undergoing treatment, Carr said. Authorities are unsure who its owners are. Solon residents noticed the dog and called the SPCA, Carr said.
“They still appear to be in good spirits,” he said. “We’re feeding them slowly to aid their readjusting to eating properly.”
Last week, a resident on Route 200 in Harford Mills called authorities about the possibly neglected dogs outside of a neighboring residence. SPCA and Country Acres Pet Services officials said the six dogs spent more than a week in an outdoor kennel after their owners moved to Scott.
The house at 90 Route 200 was condemned due to a mold problem inside.
Humane officers believe the dogs endured the cold by huddling together inside a dog house.
“I still think it was their numbers that saved them,” Carr said. “We’re still investigating and charges are possible.”
Those charges could be six misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, which carry a maximum penalty of a year in Cortland County Jail each and a $1,000 fine.
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe