HOUSTON—The Heights is one of the most popular neighborhoods for dog dumping, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
Heights resident Jane Montealegre was jogging down Heights Boulevard with her 6-month-old daughter in tow when she saw a woman get out of her sedan with a black Labrador. She lost sight of them until a few minutes later, when the same black dog was running toward her.
“[The dog was] just completely neurotic and confused,” she said.
Montealegre took the dog home and found it was micro-chipped. The animal was still registered to the dog’s original owner and not the woman who dumped her.
“He had given her up for adoption on Craigslist back in October and he knew it was a family with kids and a yard, but he had no contact information for them,” Montealegre said.
The lab, now named Sara, has made herself quite at home.
“With 99 percent certainty, she will be with us for the long term,” Montealegre said.
Prosecutor Belinda Smith said she believes people think residents in the Heights are more likely to not only rescue the pet, but also find it a new home.
Dog dumping happens all over the county and surveillance cameras set up at illegal trash sites show people dumping animals – dead or alive – at least twice a week, she said.
Often times, the video or witnesses are able to provide a license plate number and those convicted on an animal abandonment charge face a $4,000 fine and up a year in jail.
Dana Dicker, a co-founder of Scouts Honor Rescue, says summer is often when people dump their pets.
“Everybody wants to get a puppy for Christmas and six months later it’s not a puppy. It’s a 6-month-old, 50-pound puppy that’s had no training. The easiest thing to do is just get rid of it,” she said.
Just last month, Dicker saw someone throw a kitten out of a car window on a feeder road near Interstate-10. The cat, which has since been named JJ, has almost fully recovered.
“He had road rash on his face, ears, and stomach, but no broken bones.”
She said JJ will be available for adoption through her organization in two weeks.
Dicker asks anyone who witnesses such a crime to act quickly.
“You can’t go back three hours later, or the next day. It could be struck by a car minutes later, it’s so imperative to stop and help when you see it,” she said.