A 6-week-old puppy was dumped in a New World shopping bag and abandoned on the side of a north Waikato road in the rain.
The staffy-cross was malnourished, dripping in fleas, and left with a tray of soggy fries.
Kerry Wagstaff found the pup this week while out walking up to the Waerenga Rd rest stop about 3km out of Te Kauwhata, overlooking Lake Waikare.
As she turned back to head home, she felt something “attack” her calf. With headphones in, it gave her a fright and she screamed.
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“Looking down I saw this wet, skinny little pup with the most beautiful eyes.”
She picked him up, and tried to find where he’d come from and to see if there were any other puppies.
“Monday has had some heavy weather, so I gathered he must have been sitting under the bushes up there for maybe the morning until I came along.”
All she could find was the New World reusable shopping bag, with the tray of soggy fries.
“I didn’t see any boxes or blankets that he might have been left with so came to the conclusion some disgusting uncaring person had just dumped him there.”
Wagstaff said he only looked to be 6 weeks old – if that – and was shivering, so she tucked him into her jacket and trekked home.
“I could see he was emaciated, dirty, had some fleas but otherwise was uninjured.”
Once clean and fed, she said he was full of energy to run around the property.
Through a friend, she got in touch with a Waikato District Council animal control officer, who arranged for someone to pick the pup up.
Waikato District Council senior animal control officer Amanda Davis said she’d been doing this for 17 years, and finding abandoned or dumped dogs hadn’t got easier.
It was sporadic year-round, but mostly happened near rivers, lakes or on abandoned roads – where people couldn’t be seen.
Davis said it usually happened because people hadn’t got their dog desexed and then didn’t want the puppies.
They were usually neglected and malnourished– rather than seriously injured.
She said this puppy had been dumped where someone would find it.
Davis said there was still a stigma that the pound was a bad place, but they were on a mission to change that, and were available to help.
The puppy – who was now in a foster home with a council staff member – had been named Fraser and would be put up for adoption once he’d gained some weight and learnt some life skills.
People could have a look at the Waikato Pound Pups Facebook page for information on the dogs available – with cute pictures.
It re-homed about 200 to 300 dogs every year.
People dumping dogs like this happened frequently, Davis said. But it was hard to get accurate numbers as the dogs were often found roaming.
She urged people contact the animal control team on 0800 492 452 and bring unwanted dogs directly to them. There was no judgement and people wouldn’t get in trouble.
It helped if they knew the dog’s age, breed and background.
There was also a cage out the front of the Ngāruawāhia pound and dogs could be put there, no questions asked.
People who needed help desexing their dog in the Waikato district could pop into their local council office and enquire about its desexing fund.
The PUP Fund programme was for people with a community services or gold card – or if in financial hardship – and meant desexing was $80, with a free registration.
That would normally cost between $200 and $500 depending on the size of the dog.