PAWTUCKET – A 10-week old puppy discovered mixed in with rubbish inside a dumpster last Thursday has captured the hearts of dozens of potential adopters moved by the pup’s plight.
Within hours after The Times ran a story Saturday on the discarded puppy, the Pawtucket Animal Shelter’s telephone began lighting up, and people were visiting the shelter in droves throughout the weekend with offers of a forever home.
“It’s been crazy,” said Animal Control Director John Holmes. “The phone’s been ringing off the hook all weekend and it hasn’t stopped.”
The puppy, locked inside a filthy pet carrier, was found inside a dumpster near the intersection of Harrison Street and West Avenue on Thursday morning.
Holmes said the male puppy, a Jack Russell terrier mixed breed, was found at around 7:35 a.m. by some passers-by who heard the animal crying and called police. The 10-week-old puppy had been left inside a carrier that was loaded with feces and thrown into the dumpster.
Other than being cold and covered in its own feces and urine, the puppy was in good health.
“He’s got quite a sweet personality, and despite everything he’s been through, he’s running around playing and having a lot of fun,” Holmes said.
Since Saturday, the shelter has received upwards of 100 phone calls and is processing more than 50 applications from people who want to adopt the puppy. In addition, well-wishers have been dropping off pet food, blankets and other donated items.
For Holmes, the response from the community - from potential adopters to people just wanting to help the shelter with donations – has been a Christmas gift the shelter won’t soon forget.
“The response has been absolutely phenomenal,” said Holmes, adding the shelter is already beginning to process the stacks of applications that have been filled out.
“Unfortunately, someone’s heart is going to get broken,” he said.
Holmes said it isn’t likely the dog will be adopted before the end of the year.
“We’re going through the applications in the order that we received them, and we’re going to take our time and make sure this little guy gets the home he deserves,” he said.
State law requires the shelter to hold a dog or cat for a certain number of days before it can be adopted.
“But I’m pretty sure no one is coming to claim this puppy because there’s no doubt in my mind he was thrown into that dumpster intentionally,’ Holmes said. “Whoever did this is a sick person.”
Holmes said Pawtucket police are continuing their investigation, but currently have no suspects. “They are trying to find out who did this, and if they do, that person will certainly be charged to the fullest extent of the law,” he added.
Holmes credited the people who found the puppy, saying the discovery likely saved the pup's life.
“They heard the puppy whimpering and got involved by calling the police,” he said. “If they hadn’t done that, the trash truck would have emptied the dumpster and that would have been that.”
Another day or two in the dumpster and the puppy would have likely died, he said.
A similar case in Winter Haven, Florida, made headlines last month when someone threw a 4-month-old Rottweiler puppy in a dumpster behind a motel on Thanksgiving, which led to the animal’s death.
The man who found the animal said he was out walking his dog when it began pulling him toward the dumpster and acting erratically. The man approached the dumpster and heard faint whimpering from inside.
The man searched the dumpster and found the puppy tightly wrapped in three plastic bags. He said when he removed the bags the puppy began gasping for air, then began vomiting and was unable to use his front legs.
Winter Haven Animal Control was contacted and took the puppy, which died shortly after arriving at their facility.
“Thankfully, that didn’t happen here,” said Holmes. “We’re 199.9 percent sure this little guy’s going to have a good home and a family who loves him.”