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'People just can't afford the food and license for their pets'



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A female 3-year-old golden labrador. The dogs were roaming the heavily wooded area near the Ortonville Recreation Area and were being fed by area residents. Photos provided. (click for larger version)
September 01, 2010 - Hadley Township resident Debbie Ford noticed the two dogs while walking a trail in the Ortonville Recreation Area.

"They were very scared and quite skittish," said Ford, a township resident for 18 years and owner of four dogs. "It looked like someone built them a small shelter and left plastic bowls for food and water. Both dogs looked thin— you could see their ribs through the skin."

Director Walt Rodabaugh of the Lapeer County Animal Control and Shelter, 2396 W. Genesee St., Lapeer, was contacted.

"The two dogs appear to be a pet owner's animals that were dropped off in the area," said Rodabaugh, who has worked in animal control for 35 years.

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"These two were not even leash broken. They wanted no interaction with people. When the two were brought in they were flipping out."

A ranger at the nearby Ortonville Recreation Area coaxed the two stray dogs into her pickup truck.

Rodabaugh said it's important if residents find stray animals to stay away.

"You're not going to gain their trust. They are going to end up biting your hand and running off. Someone's life will be in danger at that point and it's just not worth it.Others suggest we tranquilize the animal, but that can be dangerous too."

"It's difficult to know the size and weight of the animals to determine just how much it takes to bring them down. Once the animals are hit it's then a matter of finding them. They can often run a long way or hide."

Rodabaugh added that with the poor economy a lot of animals are being dropped of at the shelter.

"People just can't afford the food and license for their pets. People are walking away from their pets for two reasons; they get fed up with a neighbor's dog that either wanders over too often and just won't stop barking and take it for a ride, or they just want to get rid of their dog. The other reason is they move out of state and just don't want their dogs anymore."

Rodabaugh said the two dogs they recovered will be held for seven days to see if the owners happen to return.

"They have to calm down and stop growling when people come near. Unfortunate situations like this can be avoided if pet owners decide they don't want their animals anymore by dropping them off at the Lapeer County Animal Shelter."

"It may be difficult for people to do, but it's best for their pet. Just turning them loose, their chances of survival are slim."

Lapeer Animal Shelter, 810-667-0236.

Top photo a liver/white male springer spaniel. Right, a female 3-year-old golden labrador. The dogs were roaming the heavily wooded area near the Ortonville Recreation Area and were being fed by area residents. Photos provided.

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