Dallas Animal Services returns malnourished dog to owner



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Posted on February 22, 2013 at 11:44 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 23 at 10:45 AM

DALLAS - Pictures of the pit bull have circulated on social media for a few days now, showing an animal in heart-wrenching condition.

"That dog has not been cared for at all in a very long time," said Beverly Fyfe, a long-time animal advocate.

The dog, which appears emaciated, is not a stray. It lives in a southeast Dallas home, but her owner refused to discuss her condition with News 8.

The man, who did not identify himself, said his dog is skinny after feeding a litter of puppies.

But Fyfe and other animal advocates said what happened next is appalling. Dallas Animal Services investigated the case and decided to leave the dog in the home.

"That dog was so debilitated that I was amazed it wasn't seized immediately," Fyfe said.

Moments later, during Fyfe's interview, the owner, who speaks broken English, drove up holding a freshly-painted door, which read "Let's worry about the abortion."

He insisted on discussing the controversial political issue rather than his dog. Still, he did say his dog was doing better and would be sleeping inside during the cold weather.

Dallas Animal Services defends its actions, too. It said this is not a case of neglect. It's simply an uneducated owner.

"They were continuing to feed her the same amounts they fed her prior, and they had tried different foods to put some weight on her, and couldn't figure out why she wasn't gaining weight," said Dr. Catherine McManus, operations manager at Dallas Animal Services.

The city cited the owner for not registering his dog, but said it left her because he was making an effort. Plus, he turned over the litter of eight-week-old puppies to the SPCA on Thursday, McManus added.

"The dog's owner has already begun free-feeding the dog, so she has access to as much food as she wants," Dallas Animal Services said in a Facebook posting. "Our officers discussed the importance of good nutrition with the owner this morning, and the possibility that she may need to be de-wormed. The owner is taking care of that, and we've gotten the dog scheduled for a spay surgery, vaccinations, and registration through the Big Fix for Big D."

"We will follow-up," McManus said. "If we made the wrong decision and this doesn't work out, we're going to be there, too, and make sure we correct that situation."

The owner already raised his fence so she couldn't escape, and he said he would treat her for roundworms and hookworms.

Advocates like Fyfe just hope the city's decision doesn't cost the dog its life.

"If the dog survives, I'll be surprised," she said.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com