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Found – dogs. My dilemma.

By 23 January 2012 21

It was a dark and stormy night on Friday, and on my way home through a less salubrious part of Queanbeyan, I came across two dogs wandering in the road.  I pulled over and the dogs came to me willingly.  They had no collars and were in a precarious position, so I took them home.  They stank like a garbage dump, so I gave them both a bath.  They are shih tzu, and obviously related, as they’re near identical, except the female is much smaller.  To say their condition was disgusting is no exaggeration.  The female in particular had matted fur over her entire body.  I cut the hair away from their eyes, then spent hours and hours cutting the matted fur from the female.  It was so bad, that her front legs were partly fused to her chest by the matting.  They are both very placid dogs, and she was content to lay still for long periods of time while I worked on her.  They also both have extremely overgrown nails.  They are not, however, underfed.

So I went into a local vet the next morning, and yes, they’re microchipped.  My options as explained by the vet were a couple.  First, I could leave them there and they would contact the owners who could collect them.  If the owners didn’t wish to do so, the vet would then surrender them to the Queanbeyan Pound.  Otherwise, I could surrender them myself.

I took them home again while I ponder what to do.  I don’t wish to keep them, but I am loathe to surrender them in the expectation that they’ll be returned to owners that for whatever reason don’t have the capacity to properly care for them.  The very poor condition of the dogs didn’t come about in a short period of time.  It was months if not more of neglect of grooming.

My thinking at this point is to surrender them to the RSPCA in Canberra in the hope that if they are returned to the owners, they will have the opportunity to try to educate the owners. 

But I ask myself – what would Rioters do?

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21 Responses to Found – dogs. My dilemma.
#1
bywongqueen11:57 am, 23 Jan 12

Good on you for taking these dogs in and looking after them – you are to be congratulated.
My suggestion would be to contact ACT Rescue and Foster (ARF) group- http://www.fosterdogs.org/ – and get some advice from them about what to do next. They may be genuinely lost and a long way from home or they may simply have escaped due to neglect. I’m sure they will help you to decide what to do next.

#2
HHR12:06 pm, 23 Jan 12

First of all, good on you for stopping and picking up the little hairballs! It sounds like they were extremely fortunate to have you come along! What a wonderful thing you did for them.

I would definitely call the RSPCA and ask for their advice at the very least. It does sound like they have been neglected, The RSPCA would be in a position to do something about this, more so than the Queanbeyan Council. They would be able to issue notices to the owners, and keep an eye on them. I think they can take further action if the neglect continues.

As someone who has previously found such a neglected dog (a Border Collie in my case, whose owner did not want him back) I can tell you that it is well worth the reward to keep such an unfortunate creature. If you are in the position to keep even one should the situation arise, I really recommend it!

#3
dvaey12:07 pm, 23 Jan 12

bywongqueen said :

My suggestion would be to contact ACT Rescue and Foster (ARF) group- http://www.fosterdogs.org/ – and get some advice from them about what to do next.

While they may do great work, my experience with one staff member was that some dogs are worth rescuing and others arent worth it. IMHO all dogs of all histories should be treated equal, hopefully this staff member was just one bad apple of the bunch though.

One option may be that you can leave your contact details with the vet, have them contact the owners and pass on your details. That way you know personally that the dogs treatment will be handled appropriately, since you seem responsible in this situation.

#4
dungfungus12:07 pm, 23 Jan 12

bywongqueen said :

Good on you for taking these dogs in and looking after them – you are to be congratulated.
My suggestion would be to contact ACT Rescue and Foster (ARF) group- http://www.fosterdogs.org/ – and get some advice from them about what to do next. They may be genuinely lost and a long way from home or they may simply have escaped due to neglect. I’m sure they will help you to decide what to do next.

+1

#5
Linke12:10 pm, 23 Jan 12

RSPCA ACT would be your best bet, 6287 8100. If the dogs have suffered as a result of neglect then RSPCA inspectors can talk to the owners as they are authorised under the animal welfare act to do so.

#6
Black_Arrow12:23 pm, 23 Jan 12

This tale made me cry at work. It breaks my heart to think of all the little animals who suffer neglect. I love my little dog so much and she lives like a queen, so this was particularly upsetting. Did you actually get the address of the owner? I’d drive by and look to see if it’s a derelict place. Maybe unfortunately they’re owned by elderly people who cannot give them the care they need. Who knows. I’d be tempted to keep them myself, but the fact that they’re microchipped means that someone cared enough about them once. I would generally agree with the other comments and say, talk to the RSPCA. My grandparents once had someone call the RSPCA on them for suspected neglect, even though it WASN’T the case. The point being, an inspector came out and talked with my grandparents and checked the dog and gave them information and advice on pet ownership. Grandparents were completely devastated, but at least it shows that there is follow up by RSPCA.

#7
Thoroughly Smashed1:08 pm, 23 Jan 12

Did you take photos of them before you cleaned them up? Might help the RSPCA to see what condition they were in.

#8
EvanJames1:32 pm, 23 Jan 12

First of all, GOOD ON YOU. Kudos for stopping and doing something, rather than driving on hoping someone else would.

And what a horrible dilemma.

I guess I agree with the idea of ACT RSPCA. RSPCA has some powers to enforce animal welfare, they have legal standing. They are your best bet of having “something done” although I imagine doubts about that will bother you, it would me too.

They sound like lovely dogs, letting a stranger do all that to them.

#9
HenryBG1:54 pm, 23 Jan 12

Black_Arrow said :

This tale made me cry at work. It breaks my heart to think of all the little animals who suffer neglect.

Yes, first-world problems bring a tear to the eye, don’t they?

#10
maniac2:50 pm, 23 Jan 12

You definitely need to let the RSPCA follow this up. The dogs might be stolen and neglected by the thieves, so the real owners must be found. Make sure to take photos of the whole process of cleaning the dogs up as evidence.

#11
Jivrashia3:00 pm, 23 Jan 12

dvaey said :

one staff member was that some dogs are worth rescuing and others arent worth it.

Of course, all dogs should be given the same opportunity to determine if they can be re-homed. But some do fail the ultimate test – to see if they pose a risk to humans.

Now, as much as I like furry little creatures as the next person, I wouldn’t want to walk the street knowing there is something that is willing to attack me. Much less live in the same house.

And so these dogs are put down, like any ‘wild’ dog.

#12
mr_spoon3:16 pm, 23 Jan 12

HenryBG said :

Yes, first-world problems bring a tear to the eye, don’t they?

That you’re lucky enough to live in a first world society is no reason not to show/feel some compassion – even to small dogs.

Or is it that you are neglected as well and just need a hug?

MsCheeky – I am proud to share my first world with you.

#13
Henry823:30 pm, 23 Jan 12

Do you bath and give haircuts to homeless people too?

Just take it to the pound, mention it was neglected and you’ve looked after it.

#14
Thumper4:15 pm, 23 Jan 12

Good on you MsCheeky.

A little compassion in this world is always a good thing.

#15
NoImRight4:48 pm, 23 Jan 12

HenryBG said :

Black_Arrow said :

This tale made me cry at work. It breaks my heart to think of all the little animals who suffer neglect.

Yes, first-world problems bring a tear to the eye, don’t they?

You mean like your drug of choice crusade and the Nazis/Communists keeping you down? Cause thats a real issue..

#16
Evil_Kitten4:53 pm, 23 Jan 12

HenryBG said :

Black_Arrow said :

This tale made me cry at work. It breaks my heart to think of all the little animals who suffer neglect.

Yes, first-world problems bring a tear to the eye, don’t they?

Animal abuse is far from a “first-world only” problem.

#17
Watson5:19 pm, 23 Jan 12

HenryBG said :

Black_Arrow said :

This tale made me cry at work. It breaks my heart to think of all the little animals who suffer neglect.

Yes, first-world problems bring a tear to the eye, don’t they?

But a more pressing first world problem is people who have too much time and comment on posts when they have nothing constructive to contribute. Lots of little dogs will die after a life of misery before that one will be solved…

Anywho… My first reaction would be to call the RSPCA for advice too.

#18
madamcholet9:06 am, 24 Jan 12

Good for you. And shame all of those who intimate that you have gone overboard. I’d love to take on two more littlies, but already have an ageing but individual one of our own who was more than a little put out when the (now three year old) small human took up residence. Would probably see him off if we took on others to usurp him further.

I don’t understand the attitude of not helping and also bagging out people who do care – whatever needs the help, be it dogs, cats, humans, kangaroos.

Let us know what you decide to do. I know the RSPCA will keep in contact with you to advise what happens if you ask them to. In my mind, that’s probably the best place given the type of dogs they are and the RSPCA’s ability to re-house animals, particularly the ACT branch.

#19
burkes089:11 am, 24 Jan 12

Hi MsCheeky,

Thanks so much for picking up and looking after the poor little mites.

ACT Rescue and Foster (ARF) is a group of volunteers who work to save dogs at risk of euthanasia from local and surrounding region pounds. We then foster them in our own homes until we can find them their forever home. Sadly, due to the large number of dogs at imminent risk of euthanasia, we are not often able to take in surrendered dogs.

As much as we all hate to do it, it is important that dogs are taken to the pound and given a chance to find their owners. Whilst it is less common, sometimes the dogs may have been lost for a long time or have been stolen from the home so the original owners must be given the chance to find them again. Once the dogs have done their time in the pound, if you are still interested in adopting them you would be welcomed to do so. Alternatively, if the original owners come to claim them back I am sure the rangers will educate them on what the appropriate level of care is.

Every Saturday, ARF have a trained team of temperament testers who go into the local pounds and test the dogs that are due the following week. We test the dogs to see what sort of home they would be suitable for so we check what they are like with other dogs, whether they are suitable for children, if they are happy to be handled, whether they show any food guarding tendencies and what sort of training they have. This gives the public and our foster carers a better idea of what sort of home they will be suitable for to try to ensure that they don’t end up in the same situation again.

Both Queanbeyan and Canberra (DAS) pounds work closely with local and interstate rescue groups to find the dogs suitable homes or foster care.

Thanks again for taking them in, they will be most thankful.

#20
burkes089:24 am, 24 Jan 12

dvaey said :

bywongqueen said :

My suggestion would be to contact ACT Rescue and Foster (ARF) group- http://www.fosterdogs.org/ – and get some advice from them about what to do next.

While they may do great work, my experience with one staff member was that some dogs are worth rescuing and others arent worth it. IMHO all dogs of all histories should be treated equal, hopefully this staff member was just one bad apple of the bunch though.

One option may be that you can leave your contact details with the vet, have them contact the owners and pass on your details. That way you know personally that the dogs treatment will be handled appropriately, since you seem responsible in this situation.

Hi Dvaey,

Thanks for your feedback. I am sorry to hear that you were dissapointed with one of our volunteers (sadly no staff, we are all volunteers).

Unfortunately, there is some truth in what you have said, but not exactly. All dogs that are at risk of euthanasia in pounds are treated with a clean slate. This is why we spend every Saturday in all weathers testing dogs to see what sort of home they are suitable for. The test is not designed to pass or fail a dog, just to ensure that they are rehomed to someone who can provide the appropriate level of training and care.

However, it would be extremely careless of us not to take in the dogs past history when recommending it for a home. For example, if a dog had been surrendered for severe aggression towards people or dogs, we would need to think very carefully before recommending that the dog is suitable to be safely rehomed into the community. At the end of the day though, it is not ARF’s decision to make, we can only suggest what sort of home we think is suitable based on the dogs history and the behaviours it exhibited at the time of testing. Most foster carers in both ARF and other local groups all have their own dogs/children and because we are bringing these dogs into our homes it does mean that sadly some dogs do get left behind.

All our volunteers work tirelessly to save each and every dog so I am dissapointed to hear that you think otherwise. I would be more than happy to chat further with you if you would like to provide further feedback.

Thanks

Dallas Burkevics
ACT Rescue and Foster
committee@fosterdogs.org

#21
MsCheeky11:52 am, 24 Jan 12

Thanks for all the comments. I reiterate that I don’t wish to keep the dogs, as sweet as they are (and they really are!) – I’ve got two of my own. My concern was that they could be handed back to an owner who obviously doesn’t have the capacity, for whatever reason, to properly care for them with no further follow up. I’ve decided that the RSPCA is best placed to handle it, and I’ll be turning them in there. Yes, I did photograph them in their before state, and I haven’t done anything besides wash the boy, as his condition wasn’t as dire, so the RSPCA will be able to make a judgement. Oh, and I named them – Feral and Cheryl. Cheers.

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