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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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7/6/2013 1:07:00 PM
11 dogs abandoned at Cottonwood adoption center
Puppies left to roam parking lot; five dogs tied to a fence
An Adopt a Life Center volunteer pulls ticks from one of the puppies' fur. VVN/Yvonne Gonzalez
An Adopt a Life Center volunteer pulls ticks from one of the puppies' fur. VVN/Yvonne Gonzalez
Volunteer Kendra Joiner holds a white puppy with a black-spotted ear after giving it a bath. VVN/Yvonne Gonzalez
Volunteer Kendra Joiner holds a white puppy with a black-spotted ear after giving it a bath. VVN/Yvonne Gonzalez

Yvonne Gonzalez
Staff Reporter


Cottonwood's Adopt for Life Center for Animals is now under an even greater strain. Eleven dogs were abandoned there Thursday after volunteers left for the July 4 holiday.

The three adults, two juveniles and six puppies had worms and fleas and ticks that had made their way inside the animals' ear canals and embedded in their paws. The puppies were left to roam the parking lot while the other five dogs were tied to a fence.

Volunteer Cheryl Rampone was petting one puppy's fur to find and then remove the many ticks embedded in the soft skin. Puffy and white with puss and blood, the ticks were placed in paper cups of rubbing alcohol. The dog slept through most of it, curled on Rampone's lap.

"They're tired," she said. "They've been through so much, with the fireworks last night, and getting a bath for the first time in their lives, and the ticks making them anemic."

Volunteers started at 7 a.m. and by noon Friday, they had only fully treated four out of 11 dogs, said Lisa Diacik, vice president of the Adopt for Life board of directors. She came in to help the center handle the sudden influx of dogs. 

"This'll be a long night for us all, just to make sure they're taken care of," Diacik said. "They are in disgusting shape right now. They came in just filthy, filthy and disgusting. It's a shame."

She said the person or people who left the dogs probably didn't understand the strain that would be put on the center's limited resources. Adopt for Life does not euthanize animals for space and, with the addition of these 11, there are now 56 dogs in residence during a time of year when adoption rates are at their lowest.

The case is under investigation by local Animal Control officers, Diacik said, but these types of crimes are not often solved.

She said people need to be aware of the alternatives and help available to them when they feel overwhelmed by their pet situation. Many Animal Control officers will help by donating food, and Adopt for Life could have taken a few at a time to avoid overcrowding the shelter.

"But we're here, we're here to take care of them, and we will survive," she said. "We always do."

Tessa Unwin said the center charges people $50 when they surrender a pet in order to offset the costs of caring for the animal until it is adopted.

This may have led to the decision to simply abandon the dogs in order to avoid $550 in fees.

"They probably didn't know how to handle six puppies, plus two adolescents, plus two adults," Unwin said. "It must've gotten out of hand."

The puppies will grow up to be around 40 pounds. They'll all be put up for adoption once they're vaccinated and pest-free. With names like Freedom, America, and Firecracker, the center is calling the 11 animals their Fourth of July dogs. 

"They're actually loving this," Diacik said. "This is probably the first attention they've ever really gotten." 

Related Stories:
• Shelter works to send home last Fourth of July dog
• Editorial: Somebody out there knows who did this


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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, July 8, 2013
Article comment by: tom marzullo

Given the options, dropping them off at the shelter was the most humane thing they could have done. Cowardly? yes, but perhaps financial problems left that as an only option.
Dump them off in the desert, shoot them? dump them on the hiway? abandon in an empty building? What ever the cause or reason, fault or blame, lack of neutering, spaying etc.
The right thing was done here, maybe not the best right thing or the proper right thing but the animals are saved, cared for and hopefully will soon have new happy loving homes. We are sometimes to quick to judge and throw stones and by doing so, we lose perspective. These animals were saved every step of the way. Thank goodness for that.


Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Article comment by: Cheryl A Rampone

I began volunteering at the Cottonwood Human Society only 2 weeks ago. I had to put my dog "Puddin" to sleep because she blew her knee out and I could not allow her to suffer. Just shy of 11 years I'm heartbroken. She also became my assistance pet by saving my life. I adopted her at a Human Society in CT in 2002. So I felt there was nothing better I could do to honor her, than to give love to these dogs that are where she once was. I am so happy the Lord put this on my heart! It is just wonderful to walk, play and give some love and affection to these precious animals. When I went in to the "Adopt for Life" no kill center on July 5th and was told about the 11 abandoned dogs and pups, I felt sick! I began to wonder what type of person/persons would/could do such a thing. But at least they are with us now. Yes it's hard to see the condition of them, but they now have us to care for there needs and find loving homes for them. So I pray that anyone even considering adopting a pet, will come and see all the great, sweet and gentle animals that so desperately need a loving home. God Bless each volunteer and employee who work with God's lost friends.

Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Lantz

Our wonderful Adopt for Life Center is strained financially even without this new challenge. Hopefully, anyone who can afford it will donate a few dollars to help or, if at all possible, adopt one of the beautiful animals needing a loving home. Kudos to Adopt for Life Center and all they do!

Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

In this HEAT? They need to be found and
arrested.Talk about abuse.


Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2013
Article comment by: Debra Rinaldo

why?? wish they'd offer a reward for the cowardly, selfish person/people who left these animals. Still better than leaving them out in the wild, " to fend for themselves", yes, with coyotes, bobcats, & some unsavory humans, but still, this shows a common problem with our society, we dispose of animals, breathing, feeling, live beings, when it's inconvenient, expensive, or a burden, through our own laziness of not spaying/neutering, & it's repugnant. this is what humans have become? disposing of instead of taking responsibility? someone knows something, were these bred in some back yard, left behind by a family who was moving & couldn't take them with?? please grow a soul, heart & some back bone. I'm sick & tired of people abusing, dumping, neglecting & ignoring animals. this has become more of a problem in Sedona/Verde Valley than I've seen in decades. What is going on??



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