Left-behind pet heads off to pound

Published May 23, 2007

DADE CITY - She hopped and wagged and pricked her ears at the sight of a visitor. She barked when another dog came close.

No matter how small her territory, she still protected it.

The black and tan Rottweiler mix was abandoned at least three weeks ago by her owners. She has lived at the end of a dirt road ever since, chained to a tree, surviving on food and water provided by residents of St. Joseph Estates mobile home park in rural northeast Pasco.

On Tuesday, county Animal Services officers took her away. She'll stay in a shelter for 10 days, giving her owners a chance to reclaim her. But park residents say the owners were seasonal farmworkers who are long gone.

After 10 days, the pooch could be put up for adoption or euthanized if she's too sickly or aggressive.

Her capture Tuesday morning was uneventful. She slipped easily onto a leash and hopped into a white county van. The officers had given her food earlier in the morning, so she would get nourishment without getting carsick.

Peering out from a cage in the van, she paced and rested, ears always pricked.

And before long, she had company. A brown-and-white male dog roaming around the park with no collar caught the officers' attention. They put him on a blue rope leash and walked him door to door in search of an owner. But no one claimed him either, and he was taken away in the van.