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Animal control officials seeing a rise in abandoned dogs
By Kate Ramunni, STAFF WRITER
Published: 12:04 a.m., Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Eight-month-old Rocky has Seymour's animal control officials eating out of his hand -- or rather, he eats out of their hands.
The handsome pit bull-boxer mix has won the hearts of Assistant Animal Control Officer Debbie Ice and the staff of volunteers who work at the Silvermine Road shelter. But three weeks ago, his situation was drastically different and potentially life-threatening.
Rocky and two other pit bull mixes were dumped off, likely at a reservoir near the shelter and across from the town's landfill, where they were found Jan. 6 desperately forging for food, Ice said.
The three are part of a larger group of dogs, all pit bull mixes, that have been turning up in Valley animal shelters. There are five now at the Seymour shelter, Ice said, when last year, there was only one there for the entire year.
In Oxford, several pit bulls have been picked up, which also is out of the ordinary, Animal Control Officer Sandy Merry said. Ansonia also has several, she said.
Ice said she believes the dogs may be "washouts" -- pit bulls that trainers reject as fighters because of their sweet personalities.
"Maybe they tried to get them to fight and they wouldn't," she said, "so they threw them away."
"None of these dogs have what it takes to be a fighter," she said. "They are all very loving; they love people, and they love other dogs."
The three dogs were in horrible condition when she found them, Ice said.
"They were all bones," she said.
But despite their plight, the dogs all came bounding to her when called, she said, and were happy to jump into her car.
Another dog, a small brown pit bull mix, was found near Bungay School and appears to have been someone's pet, but no one has called looking for it, Ice said. Another white pit bull-bull terrier mix dubbed "Spuds McKenzie" -- after the dog used in Budweiser beer commercials -- was picked up in French Memorial Park, a common place for people to abandon their pets, Ice said.
"They dump them at the park and at the reservoir because they know they won't be seen there," she said.
The small brown dog has been named Princess because that is what she is, volunteer Debbie McKeown said. She and her daughter Rachel, 13, have volunteered at the shelter since September and have worked with the dogs since their arrival.
"They see us coming, and they know they're going to get a snack," she said of the dogs.
"They all have different personalities," Rachel said.
When they first arrived, they were rambunctious, but now "they're calmer and more trained," she said. "They were pretty jumpy, but they've gotten better."
Trainer Ron Mullen has volunteered to work with the animals to get them prepared to go to new homes, Ice said. He will work with one dog in particular, a brindle male named Roscoe, who has shown evidence of having been abused, she said.
Homes are being sought for all of the dogs.
The cost to adopt them is
$50 each -- $5 of which
goes to the town and $45
for a spay/neutering certificate. To adopt a dog, call Seymour Assistant Animal Control Officer Debbie Ice at 203-465-2604.