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The toll of animal abandonment; dogs and humans pay the price in Mobile County

Accused young mixed breed dogs await their fate
Accused young mixed breed dogs await their fate ProseInc

Every year more and more dogs are abandoned, “dumped” by their owners. Dogs abandoned from a home have no way of knowing how to take care of themselves. This cruel practice not only places dogs in harm's way, especially litters of puppies, it also creates a danger to humans.

Accused Retriever mix dog, a victim of abandonment; forlorn, awaits his final fate
Accused Retriever mix dog, a victim of abandonment; forlorn, awaits his final fate Proseinc

Last Sunday, a Wilmer, Alabama woman, Deborah Quinley was seriously injured by what she described as a pack of stray dogs. Media reported that the dogs were a group of Pit Bull and Chow mixes. Later, the description of the dogs was changed to read simply, a “pack of stray dogs”.

Five dogs were rounded up by a neighbor and taken to Mobile County Animal Shelter. It is not clear as to the method used to identify the dogs involved in the attack, given the number of stray dogs reported by residents in this area.

Mobile County Animal Control, neighbors and the victim's husband confirmed that dogs are constantly dropped off in this area, and form packs - scavenging for food and water. Some residents in the area fed the hungry dogs scraps from time to time, neighbors said.

Mobile County Animal Cruelty Investigator Carmelo Miranda said that he answers more calls than he can list concerning abandoned dogs. “Once we get there, they are nowhere to be seen. They subsist on a minimal level; an existence filled with anxiety, hunger and despair."

Upon visiting MCAC shelter, this reporter was shown the five dogs, four females and one male, suspected in taking part in the attack. Instead of vicious, powerful looking dogs, four of the accused appear to be young, barely a year old - at most – female mixed breeds. (see slide show).

The black and white dog was trembling. She kept her head tightly tucked on top of her kennel mate’s back, while the kennel mate leaned toward the kennel bars, and wiggled, wagged her tail and licked my hand. The other two young females, in a separate cage, appeared friendly and welcomed human contact.

Then, I was shown the suspected “ring leader”. (see photo)

Rather than a growling, fearful dog, I saw a forlorn medium-sized male Retriever mix lying in a relaxed fashion, close to the bars of his cage. He didn't move from his spot, or jump or bark as the other dogs along the row of cages were doing. He readily let me touch his face, close to his mouth, through the bars. It is difficult to think this dog could or would attack a friendly human being.

Some owners who leave behind or set loose pets have the idea that since dogs were once wild that their survival skills will click in. To the contrary, it just doesn't happen that way.

Dogs had their wildness and most of their instincts for surviving bred out generations ago. In reality, they are doomed to a terrifying existence of struggle, violence and disease. In time they learn that there are no kind hands extended, and form packs with other unfortunates.

Mobile County Animal Cruelty Investigator Carmelo Miranda said that he receives more calls than he can list regarding abandoned dogs. “Once we get there, they are nowhere to be seen. Current Alabama laws against abandonment are not strong enough to present a deterrent to people who commit this cowardly crime.”

The apparent perpetrators of this horrific tragedy, the owners who chose to discard their dogs like trash, remain safe and anonymous. The human victim is recovering but will be permanently scarred emotionally and physically. The accused canines will likely be killed, euthanized, unless an approved, capable party, with expertise in temperament assessment and rehabilitation comes forward.

Miranda commented, “We need stronger, enforceable county laws to protect animals, which in turn, will protect the public and prevent instances such as this from occurring”.

If you need to find another home for a pet, contact rescues and shelters, and make a flyer. You can easily create a flyer at this link http://www.petbond.com/flyerentry.php?oid=bf

The Quinley family has set up a benefit account for medical expenses incurred. Go to any Hancock Bank branch, ask for the Deborah Quigley Benefit Account or call 251-602-1465.

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