San Diego

Dog Abandoned Outside Helen Woodward Animal Center Dies From Injuries

Abandoning a domestic animal is illegal in San Diego

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For centuries, dogs have been considered man’s best friend.

“Dogs are kind, they have unconditional love,” said Jessica Gercke, Public Relations Director at the Helen Woodward Animal Center.

They're furry, four-legged creatures that in exchange for their love ask our help to survive.

“I think it's crucial that people know that these animals are our responsibility, and they are willing to give back so much love if we just show them a little bit of kindness,” said Gercke.

But that doesn’t always happen, Gercke added.

Caught on surveillance video is a man seen suspiciously driving in and out of the Woodward Center Monday night. 

“It then shows him getting some stuff out of the car and calling to a dog who then follows him across the street to our Companion Animal Hospital,” said Gercke. “He proceeds to leave the items there, tells the dog to stay and goes back, gets into his car, and drives away.”

In the video the dog appears confused, not knowing why he was left there.

“We don't know why he was left here but I will say the footage appears to show an older dog,” said Gercke. “And I know we do get people who contact us when a dog gets older, has medical challenges, and say they no longer want to take care of them.”

Hours later, a dog fitting the same description is found badly injured in the middle of a nearby road. According to Gercke, the dog was either hit by a car or attacked by coyotes. She says he was picked up by four good samaritans and taken to a local hospital.

“They said the look in the dog's eyes was just tragic," Gercke said. 

The dog died before reaching the facility.

“Knowing the outcome of that [video] and that only a couple hours later he was attacked or hit or in pain, that that was the way his life ended was so heartbreaking, so gut-wrenching,” said Gercke.

She hopes his story serves as a reminder that there are always other options.

“They obviously can go to rescue facilities and talk about relinquishing a pet, sometimes there is a fee with that,” said Gercke. “They can ultimately go to county animal services and that is a place that can take their pets.”

But abandoning a pet isn't one. In fact, it is illegal in San Diego for an individual to abandon a domestic animal. The law states in part, "Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

The Woodward Center is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who can identify the man seen abandoning the dog in their surveillance video.

The community is asked to contact the Woodward Center with tips at 858-756-4177, ext. 1.

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