Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pit bull puppy found frozen to death-Wilmington, DE

Young dog was tied to fence, left in cold.

A 6-month-old pit bull was found frozen to death Saturday outside a Wilmington home, according to the Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The brown-and-white male dog, wearing a flea collar, had been tied to a fence with a short fabric cord. It was discovered in the late afternoon, said Anne Cavanaugh, executive director of the Delaware SPCA.

"I mean, this is obviously a case of cruelty to animals, but leaving a dog outside to freeze all day is really appalling," Cavanaugh said. "And I mean, this was, like, solid."

The owners of the nearby home on the 3000 block of Bowers Street told the SPCA they were not the pit bull's owners, Cavanaugh said.

SPCA officials and police could not determine how long the dog had been left out in the cold -- the low was 16 on Saturday -- but Cavanaugh guessed "a couple of hours."

The Delaware SPCA is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the owner.

SPCA officials also are looking for the owner of another dog left out in the cold last week.

The dog, a rusty-brown Doberman pinscher, was found emaciated and suffering from hypothermia in Wilmington's Rockford Park area at 10 a.m. Thursday and survived. "It wasn't a block of ice" like the pit bull found Saturday, Cavanaugh said.

"The dog was left outside and was literally freezing to death," said Animal Control Officer Nicholas Pepe, who was sent to the scene with fellow Officer David Sloan.

The canine was taken to Windcrest Animal Hospital in critical condition. After treatment, it was released to the animal control officers Saturday in stable condition, was alert "and seemed grateful," Pepe said.

He said he checked with other shelters in the area and no one was searching for a lost dog.

"It is possible that the owner is frantically looking for the dog," he said. "It is also possible that the dog was no longer wanted and simply abandoned. I find it hard to believe, if someone lost a dog, they wouldn't call the SPCA or another shelter."

Pepe said the SPCA encourages dog owners to make house pets out of their canines.

"This way, owners get much more companionship and guardianship and have a better relationship with their dog," he said. "We would not adopt-out an animal if we knew the owner would keep it outdoors."

Last year, the Delaware SPCA spent thousands of dollars from its Second Chance Fund to provide emergency care for animals.

Cavanaugh said owners should let their pets outside for only about 15-20 minutes in extremely cold temperatures.

"If you're going to neglect the animal, give it a chance," Cavanaugh said.

Call 998-2281 to report information on either case.

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