A woman has been filmed abandoning her dog by tying it to the front fence of an animal shelter with no food or water while the facility was closed.
The dog could be seen struggling against its lead after being tied up outside Hot Springs Animal Services Centre in Arizona on Sunday (local time).
The woman left a note with the animal and later returned to deliver it food and water, according to Hot Springs police officer, Sergeant Chris Lackey, news outlet Kark reported.
When animal control officers attended the facility on Monday, which doesn’t open until midday on weekdays, the dog had escaped.
The woman, who came forward about leaving her dog, was asked to return to the facility and call for the animal.
The dog eventually returned and has remained in the care of the centre.
Police said the woman surrendered the dog claiming it had been unwell and had developed aggression towards her child.
Sergeant Lackey said unfortunately it was not uncommon to have animals left at the centre after hours.
"People get desperate at certain times," he told Kark.
"We don't condone tying an animal to a fence.”
He said abandoning an animal can warrant criminal charges due to violation of animal cruelty laws.
The woman has not faced charges.
Often owners can feel helpless having to surrender their dog due to a change of address or the addition of small children to the family, Sydney vet Dr Simon Ilkin told Yahoo News Australia.
But abandoning an animal by dumping it at a shelter might not only result in criminal charges, but distressing feelings of guilt down the line, he said.
“I would urge people to speak to someone from an adoption agency or the RSPCA before making the decision to dump their animal. Often talking it through can make a big difference in the way you choose to go ahead with surrendering the animal.
“By dumping them you’ll feel guilty and you won’t have the closure of knowing what happens to them. At least if people know their dogs are safe and happy, this can provide a bit of closure for them.”
Dr Ilkin said fortunately many animals brought to him at Kirrawee Veterinary Hospital from owners who could no longer care for them had been lucky enough to be re-homed.
“People often face a lot of challenges if they’re moving home, downsizing or welcoming grandchildren, and can feel disheartened if they have an older animal because they don’t think they’ll be able to re-home them. But this definitely isn’t always the case.”
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