An animal shelter has posted a heartbreaking warning to pet owners, after a dog that was given away ‘free to a good home’ turned up at a pound two weeks later with facial injuries.
“THIS IS WHY YOU NEVER GIVE YOUR DOG AWAY ‘FREE TO GOOD HOME’,” Brisbane based animal shelter Happy Tails Animal Rescue Inc. posted on their Facebook page.
“Trixie is a young, loving 6 month old pup who has already seen the absolute horrors this world has to offer.”
In June, six-month-old Rottweiler/staffie mix Trixie was advertised on a Facebook pet for sale/giveaway site by her original owner, a man in his late twenties who was unable to care for her.
He gave her to people he met on the site and after collecting Trixie, the new owners quickly blocked him on Facebook.
About two weeks later, with horrific facial wounds and swelling, Trixie was found as a stray dog by the local council animal control team. After a brief stay with local group Red Collar Rescue, she was collected by Happy Tails Animal Rescue Inc.
“She was extremely terrified when he picked her up, her facial swelling had gone down but she still had a lot of lacerations on her face that needed to be kept clean as they healed,” Mykeala Campanini, President of Happy Tails Animal Rescue Inc. told Yahoo7.
Ms Campanini’s father, who lives in Bundaberg, collected Trixie and drove her six hours to veterinarians in Brisbane.
“We rescue dogs from regional pounds all over Australia, so each week we receive a list as such of dogs needing rescue so they are not euthanised and that’s when we saw Trixie and found out about her story,” Ms Campanini said.
“She was super affectionate with my dad and her foster home and is loving despite what she has been through but still terrified of other dogs at this stage and very skittish.”
While nobody knows what happened to Trixie in those two weeks, her injuries are consistent with dog fighting.
“We can’t know for sure but pound staff and local rescue group founder said they are fairly confident her injuries were sustained from dog fighting, her face had been mauled repeatedly with the scars at different stages of healing. [It’s] consistent with dogs that are used as bait dogs,” Ms Campanini said.
Currently, Trixie is with a temporary foster family for physical care and socialisation before she finds a permanent home.
“She’s going very well, enjoying the attention of her foster humans and is a very sweet girl,” Ms Campanini said.
“She will make a full recovery and be available in the coming weeks for applications from people who may wish to adopt her,” she said.
Unfortunately, the situation is not isolated. Happy Tails receives several requests a day from people giving up their dogs and experiences an uptick in abandoned dogs after Christmas and early new year.
Ms Campanini says that offering dogs for free attracts exploitative owners.
“When dogs are given away for free they have no value to new owners and are easy targets for dog fighting rings as they don’t cost them anything and sadly they think no one will care what happens to the dog,” she said.
She recommends purchasing dogs through local rescue groups, as these animals have had health, behaviour assessments and veterinarian checks.
“Always have a plan when buying a dog of what happens if you move, have children, et cetera so you do not need to rehome them,” she said.
“People can pretend to be many things online and it’s not worth the risk,” she said.