Please don’t abandon pets

Island County Animal Control Officer Carol Barnes suspects that a cold-hearted person abandoned a puppy in North Whidbey earlier this month.

A Monkey Hill Road resident saw the lonely, black puppy scampering around in her neighborhood. After several days, she was able lure the little dog into a kennel. Then she called Barnes.

“He’s very, very sweet,” Barnes said of the six-month-old dog. “He has a very soft touch to him.”

Barnes said she doesn’t have any hard numbers on the number of dogs and cats that people abandon each year. It’s difficult to tell for certain whether a stray animal is lost or was dumped by its owner. But dozens upon dozens of strays find their way to the Whidbey Animal Improvement Foundation’s shelters each year.

Animal Control receives more and more calls of stray or abandoned animals each year, especially in the summer months.

Barnes said some people think it’s OK to take a dog or cat into a rural area and simply leave it. They either think that some kindly farmer will adopt the animal or that it will be able to fend for itself.

Unfortunately, the truth is much crueler. Barnes said abandoned dogs and cats tend to hang out in the specific area they were dumped, waiting in vain for their owners to return. They tend to hide from strangers and they don’t look for food, but just suffer in loneliness. They are in danger from cars, wild animals and other pets protecting their property.

It’s also a crime to abandon any kind of pet or livestock.

As for the little black dog, Barnes brought him to the WAIF shelter near Coupeville this week. She named him “Jesse James.” He was skinny and scared to be held, but WAIF staff said that will change with time. He’ll get accustomed to people again.

After a waiting period for strays, Jesse James will be ready to be adopted.

You can reach Jessie Stensland at or 675-6611.

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