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Pet-friendly restaurant deals with odd problem: People abandoning their dogs

Employees at one San Antonio restaurant and bar are finding themselves in the role of animal caretakers after multiple people have left their pets behind.

SAN ANTONIO — One of San Antonio's most pet-friendly restaurants is gearing up for warmer weather and busier summer months ahead. Even a little rain on Saturday morning didn't stop people from bringing their pets to the outdoor patio at Hops and Hounds.

Aside from operating the restaurant, employees sometimes find themselves taking on the role of an animal shelter. General Manager Alannah Tellez said it started last year. 

"It does put strain on myself and my staff because we feel some sort of responsibility for these abandoned dogs here," she said. "People have just left their dogs here, no collar, no chips, nothing and we’ve been left to find a home for them."

Earlier this month, two more dogs, a male and female, were left at the restaurant, prompting Tellez to put a call out to social media for anyone who may be able to provide them a loving home.  

One of the dogs was adopted into a home, the other was placed at Charming Pet Rescue.

"A shelter or a rescue is kind of our last resort, I mean we want to find a loving home for them," said Tellez.

The first time it happened, someone left their German Shepherd. Tellez said the GM at the time ended up adopting him. 

The restaurant is working to install cameras, hoping to deter people from leaving their dogs. The staff also wants to work with shelters, rescues, and other organizations to raise awareness about options available to pet owners. 

"Abandoning a pet is never a solution," said Lisa Norwood, Communications Manager for the City's Animal Care Services (ACS). 

Many shelters in San Antonio can assist people with placing their pets somewhere else. 

"Whether it be be just distributing a picture of your pet and encouraging people to adopt them...or even taking that pet into the facility and marketing it for you, any different shelter will do that for you, but you do have to ask for help," Norwood added. 

While many shelters are also struggling with capacity and not enough fosters, Norwood said it is still better to take pets there instead of abandoning them across the city. 

Not only is abandoning a pet inhumane, said Norwood, it's also illegal

"It’s something that if we catch you doing it, you’re going to get cited," she added. "Generally, they start at three hundred dollars and up and that is per citation." 

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