Three abandoned Shih Tzu dogs found in the area of Dundas’ Warren Park are expected to find new homes.
Hamilton Animal Services picked up the three dogs — a female approximately 12 years old, another female around eight, and a male of approximately six — on July 24.
“To date, no owners have come forward to claim them,” city spokesperson Michelle Shantz said Aug. 2. “The dogs have been assessed for our adoption program which will see the younger two dogs offered for adoption as a pair through Animal Services after receiving medical care.”
The oldest of the three dogs is with a rescue organization because she has advanced health issues that might be ongoing.
Dundas resident Michelle Gagnon notified the Dundas Star News of the found dogs.
“Shame on whoever was so heartless as to abandon three small (Shih Tzu) dogs in the conservation area,” Gagnon said in an email. “They were very unkempt and, with many coyotes around, would have certainly suffered had not a neighbor who was walking her dog on the trails come upon them. I’m speechless as to how someone could do this.”
Shantz said Animal Services staff have seen a recent increase in animal surrenders to the shelter — something that was anticipated by staff.
“Some pet owners would not be able to, or want to, keep their animals once residents began physically going back to work,” Shantz said.
Staff did not say if there has been any recent increase in the abandonment of dogs or other pets or what specific injuries the Shih Tzus may have suffered.
Both Hamilton Burlington SPCA and Hamilton Conservation Authority staff said Hamilton Animal Services is responsible for abandoned and lost pets.
According to the city’s adoption post, the two younger dogs found in Dundas had not been spayed or neutered.
Ontario’s Solicitor General is responsible for enforcing the three-year-old Provincial Animal Welfare Service Act (PAWS).
Solicitor General spokesperson Andrew Morrison said Aug. 4 the three abandoned dogs in Dundas were not reported to the provincial animal welfare service.
He said the service had received more than 108,000 calls to the Ontario Animal Protection Call Center since 2019, resulting in 47,500 inspections or investigations and approximately 500 charges.
According to the Act, no person shall cause an animal to be in distress; no owner or custodian of an animal shall permit the animal to be in distress, and no person shall knowingly or recklessly cause an animal to be exposed to an undue risk of pain.
The Act defines “distress” as needing proper care, water, food or shelter; injured, sick, in pain or suffering; abused or subjected to undue physical or psychological hardship, privation or neglect.
The first two prohibited acts are major offenses and carry fines of up to $130,000 and up to two years in prison for the first offense and up to $260,000 in fines and two years in prison for the second offence.
Knowingly or recklessly causing an animal to be exposed to undue risk of distress is a minor offense, carrying up to $75,000 in fines and six months in prison for a first offense, or up to $100,000 in fines and one year in prison for a second offense .
“If someone in Ontario believes standards of care are not being met or an animal is in distress, being abused or neglected, they should call the Ontario Animal Protection Call Center at 1-833-926-4625,” Morrison said.
Hamilton Animal Services staff named the two abandoned Dundas dogs it put up for adoption Bonnie and Clyde. the adoption posting at www.petfinder.com states, “This criminally cute pair are partners in crime and everything else. But, Bonne and Clyde are bonded and need to stay together.”
Bonnie and Clyde will require dental work after recovering from spay and neuter surgeries, and adopters must be willing to return them for dental appointments. There is a $660 adoption fee.