A Shar Pei cross has been abandoned in an RSPCA shelter cage with a heartbreaking letter, saying his family can no longer afford to pay for his skin condition treatment.
Staff at the RSPCA NSW’s Sydney shelter were shocked when they discovered the four-year-old dog, ‘Booka’ – also known as ‘Bookaboo’, in an overnight cage with a message.
“I have a genetic form of mange. It is not contractable to other animals, though the treatment is quite expensive, he is a lovely dog (sic),” the note reads.
“Please give him a chance, he is much loved and hard to let go.”
Mange is “a very common and treatable skin condition caused by mites which can be very painful if left untreated”, according to the RSPCA.
The RSPCA said Booka appeared to be well looked–after and said there was no other reason to think the family did not really love him.
“It does appear to us that they do really care about this dog,” Stefania Kubowicz, from the RSPCA, told Yahoo7.
“The note particularly is really uncommon. Generally people will dump an animal in there and not look back.”
The RSPCA hopes to reunite Booka with his family, adding they want to give them the help they need.
“We have committed to paying for all of his treatment and care, and want him to be reunited with his loving family,” the organisation wrote on Facebook on Thursday.
It is not known if the mange is the only reason Booka has been surrendered, but the organisation still hopes the family comes forward.
“He has been brought into us before it got too advanced,” Ms Kubowicz said.
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The organisation said usually the best thing for the animal’s welfare was they stay with their family if it was an appropriate option.
“It breaks our hearts to see loved family pets surrendered because they can’t afford vet care, and we understand that can be a really difficult decision to make,” RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman said in an earlier Facebook post.
“You can see the pain and confusion on a surrendered animal’s face.
“They don’t understand what they’ve done wrong to be alone in a cage, given up by their family. And we understand that this decision can be just as painful for the family struggling to make ends meet.”
The RSPCA said the family could come forward anonymously and if they do, someone from the shelter could have a chat with them about their options for help.
“We do everything we can to help the people and animals that need us most,” Mr Coleman said.