BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. — The Bartholomew County Humane Society is trying to find out more information about a dog that was abandoned at its facility Tuesday morning.
It was in the mid-40s Tuesday morning when a worker at the Bartholomew County Humane Society arrived around 8 a.m. When she made her way to the building she encountered a sad sight.
Outside the humane society, a rottweiler waited on the sidewalk, tied to a bench with only his leash, water bowl, and food bowl for company. The dog was afraid and upset about the situation he was in.
“They weren’t sure how to get him from the front of the building to the kennel — which is at the back of our building — safe,” said Kirsten VantWoud, shelter director for the Bartholomew County Humane Society.
With the dog’s temperament, VantWoud said they had to wait until they were able to figure out how to get him to the kennel without further traumatizing him.
“We literally dragged the bench to an open gate and cut his leash off so that he could go in,” said VantWould.
It was only until staff members checked the security footage that they figured out how the dog ended up outside their facility. The camera shows a woman that seems to know the dog well tying him to the bench around 6 that morning.
“He was left there by somebody who clearly cared about him,” said VantWoud. “They were petting him and reassuring him. They left some of his belongings.”
The staff members watched the video, seeing the dog struggle to follow the woman as she left. When she was gone, he sniffed around in the dark. At some point, a work truck arrived, and he backed away from the strange vehicle as it wasn’t his person.
Several days later, the dog was still having trouble trusting members of the Bartholomew County Humane Society.
“After spending several hours in the cold, it’s really difficult for him,” said VantWoud. “It’s days later, and we’re still not to the point where everybody in the building can safely interact with him, and that could have been avoided had we gotten a call.”
However, VantWoud said they are making headway. They have a staff member who is able to interact with him. When that staff member came by, the dog livened up and showed that he has some tricks on his paws.
“He knows sit and stay, he can shake. Somebody has cared for this dog,” said VantWoud.
Now, the shelter is trying to figure out who left the dog behind, or anyone who knows about him so they can put him in an appropriate place. They need to know what he likes and what he doesn’t like.
After medically examining the dog and learning about his behavior, the shelter will put him up for adoption. Currently, VantWoud said, they have 49 dogs in a building designed for 36.
“I have a dog living under my desk right now in his little comfy bed because we don’t have any place for him to be right now,” said VantWoud.
VantWoud said all of the shelters that their organization is in contact with in central Indiana are at or above capacity, as many people are abandoning animals or not reclaiming their animals if they wander off.
VantWoud added that this is happening at alarming rates and is not something they usually see in this season. Usually, things are starting to slow down in the shelters this time of the year.
“We never know in a shelter situation where an animal is dumped. We don’t know whether it was dumped by an owner or dumped by somebody who found the pet,” said VantWoud.
VantWoud encourages people who are experiencing difficulties to contact their local shelter if they are experiencing behavioral problems or medical issues. They may be able to connect them with organizations to help those who can’t afford it so the owners don’t have to resort to surrendering their pets.
“We understand that people have difficulties, and we have resources to help with some of those things before you have to make a decision like in the case of this Rottweiler boy,” said VantWoud.
While the Bartholomew County Humane Society is seeing a lot of interest in this case, they want people to know that all of the dogs in their care have their own backstories. They hope they can get some of those dogs into homes before Christmas.
Anyone interested in adopting a dog from the Bartholomew County Humane Society can take advantage of its empty the shelters event through December 11. They will have reduced adoption fees. People can view animals up for adoption on the organization’s website.