tampabay.com

Yard becomes dog's prison

Neighbors have been caring for the abandoned animal that's been chained for weeks.

By MOLLY MOORHEAD
Published May 22, 2007


DADE CITY - For three weeks, the dog has lived next to a tree, never out of the elements, never off her chain.

Her owners had moved away, neighbors told a Pasco deputy. Just tied the dog to a tree with no food or water.

That's where the neighbors on Decker Lane stepped in, keeping the dog - a mixed breed with some Rottweiler blood - alive and nourished.

The dog, which weighs about 30 to 35 pounds, is female, black with tan legs and a tan muzzle. She is chained to a large, shady tree at the end of a dusty row of mobile homes in the hilly, northeastern part of Pasco that is still blanketed by orange groves.

Resident Dinky Lang said she believed the people who had the dog were farmworkers who moved on about a month ago.

Lang, who helps maintain the mobile home park, St. Joe Estates, went down to check on the mobile home after the tenants were gone.

"I didn't know until then they had left the dog, " she said.

"I can't see any dog suffering, " said Lang, who owns two canines herself.

Since then, Lang said, she has been taking coffee cans full of dry dog food to the pooch. She also said that just about everyone in the park had been taking food and water to the dog.

The Sheriff's Office got involved after one of the residents saw a deputy in the neighborhood about 3:40 a.m. Sunday, and told him about the abandoned animal. The deputy's report describes the dog as aggressive but not "in distress."

Pasco County Animal Services stepped in next. An officer posted a bright orange sign, as required by state law, at 10:15 a.m. Monday, announcing a possible abandonment and directing the owner to contact the agency by today.

The orange sign is tucked into the sliding glass door of the mobile home, the interior of which is in shambles.

If no owner comes forward, officers will collect the dog and house it for a 10-day shelter stay. After that, it could be adopted out or, if it's sick or unfit to be a pet, euthanized.

Lynne Deddo, an Animal Services supervisor, said the dog got a fresh bowl of water Monday to last it until this morning.

"Of course we don't know all the story, but if an animal is going to be looked after by the community, maybe they should call a little sooner, " she said.

But at least one resident said the agency was called weeks ago.

To help

Who to call

Anyone interested in helping the dog may contact Pasco County Animal Services at:

(813) 929-1212 in central Pasco

(352) 521-5194 in east Pasco, or

(727) 834-3216 in west Pasco