RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif.—A dog abandoned outside the Helen Woodward Animal Center on March 13 night was found critically injured in the middle of the street by good Samaritans only hours later, with the dog dying of its injuries, it was revealed March 17.
On Tuesday, the Woodward Center offered a $5,000 reward to anyone who could identify a person who abandoned a dog outside the facility’s closed Companion Animal Hospital.
Security footage showed a man parking his car in the shopping plaza adjacent to the center and leading the dog down a path toward the center only to abandon it.
“In that time, the individual seems to wait to make sure that all employee vehicles have left the property and that no one will catch him abandoning the precious dog, who trustingly follows the man as he beckons the canine through the parking lot,” a statement from the center reads.
After the initial story broke, a woman on the Nextdoor app described seeing the dog in the middle of the street across from the center at 9:30 p.m. on Monday evening. According to her recollection, four cars stopped to help the dog who was bleeding from the mouth and head and looked to have been attacked by coyotes or struck by a car. The dog collapsed in the street and was taken to a local emergency clinic, where it was dead upon arrival.
Ashley Levy—one of the individuals who stopped to help the dog—spoke to the Woodward Center.
“I will never forget that dog for the rest of my life,” she said. “The look in his eyes will stay with me. You can tell it was an old dog and had been somebody’s pet.
“I’ve been crying for days,” Levy said. “The only thing that comforts me is that so many people stopped to help. After seeing the heartlessness of the individual on the security camera, it’s good to know that there is still kindness in the world.”
The Helen Woodward Animal Center on Friday reiterated that the $5,000 reward for information regarding the person who abandoned the animal is still active.
“This poor dog had the most terrible end to its life,” said Monica Petruzzelli, Woodward Center public relations manager. “You can tell this dog trusted the man who left it.
“It comes to him as he calls and then looks so confused when he leaves,” she said. “You can tell the dog doesn’t know why it’s been left and then to have such traumatic final moments is just heartbreaking. Why this person would leave the dog uncrated and exposed to the traffic, the cold, and the wildlife in the area is beyond all of us. We’re truly devastated.”
The dog was wearing a harness but is left unleashed and uncrated with only a bed and a few toys, it can then be seen in the Woodward Center’s video wandering the property until it disappears.
It is illegal in San Diego for any individual to abandon an animal. In part, the law states, “No person shall abandon any domestic animal without care on any public or private property. Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
Center leadership reminded the public that an animal is a lifetime responsibility, and there are options available at animal rescues for those experiencing hardship or even those who must relinquish a pet.
The community is asked to contact the Woodward Center’s adoption department with tips at 858-756-4117, ext. 1, visit their website, or stop by at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.