by Jerika L.H.
A group of Davis locals have come together to express concern over the rising number of abandoned dogs being left in Yolo County dog parks. It is guessed that people assume the dogs will be picked up by an animal lover and rehomed.
Cayce Wallace, owner of Laughing Dogs Academy and founder of the Davis Pets Lost and Found Facebook group, says she has recently seen unwanted dogs left at the dog park on four separate occasions. “It makes me really angry as this area is totally unsafe! We spend a great deal of time trying to catch running dogs. I think it is out of towners or apartment dwellers. I fostered 3 dumped breeding small dogs a year ago in south Davis. Two chugs (chihuahua pugs) and a beautiful long haired chihuahua. Backyard breeders for sure. We can tell they’re dumped when no one is looking for them, there is no lost report filed and they’re usually not spayed or neutered. The dumping at the dog park, I think folks believe they are safe and will get a good home.”
Unfortunately, the location is anything but safe. Dogs often burrow under the fence and injure themselves. Once they escape the fencing, they can make their way onto the train tracks or the many busy roads that surround the parks. Many are hit and killed by cars.
Local dog lovers hope more surveillance will deter people from abandoning dogs at the park and persuade them to leave the animals at a shelter or find a home for their pet on their own. In addition, they could help people track down needed parties if other dogs don’t exactly play nice. “My dog was attacked at the park in February. My first reaction was to run over and make sure he was okay. By the time I looked up, the owner had her dog in the car and was driving off. I never got the license plate number and our vet bill ended up being around $650,” says Joy K.
Cameras will also provide some accountability for the crime of animal abandonment and help track down illegal backyard breeding operations and other unfortunate situations that are conducive to animal abuse.
The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine notes that 3-4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States because the number of homeless animals far exceeds the capacity of shelters to care for them. Those that never make it to a shelter usually die of starvation, exposure, infectious disease, animal attacks and car accidents, if they don’t get picked up by a kind-hearted citizen. They can also spawn new unwanted litters if they’re not fixed.
While there may be a few bad apples in the bunch, Cayce Wallace stresses the point that Davis is in no short supply of compassionate citizens. “Our Davis community is absolutely amazing at coming together and helping lost animals find their way back home, and helping owners find their dear sweet missing pets. People have gone out and looked during incredible rainstorms, drove around at all hours of the night and will get up early morning to start the starts all over again. It is an outstanding group of people.”
The Davis Pets Lost and Found Facebook group has an on-call volunteer group that help trap, locate and pick up abandoned dogs that are found roaming Davis. To sign up to volunteer, to post about a lost or found pet, or to keep abreast of animal sightings, join the Facebook group. And while you’re at it, like the Davis Vanguard Facebook page!