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BY STEVE E. SWENSON, Californian staff writer email@example.com
The first reaction to seeing a dog hogtied and immobile lying in mud south of Bakersfield was sadness, followed by anger.
"I'm very sad," said Karen Marousek of the Friends of the Kern County Animal Shelters Foundation. "I'm also angry that kind of thing does happen. Obviously they didn't really care if that dog lived or died."
The person who did it has not been found.
The animal control officer who located a hogtied pit bull dog Thursday morning in a field off Adobe Road near Sandrini Road was "shocked and horrified," Kern County Animal Control spokeswoman Kim Rodriguez said.
Added county animal control director Guy Shaw: "This to me is felony animal cruelty." It's the second time in his two years as director he's seen abuse "so severe," he said.
The first were two pit bull puppies found burned in acid in separate incidences in July and October in east Bakersfield.
A San Diego rescuer took both dogs, named Smokey and Charlie, and has asked to take the dog found Thursday if it isn't adopted. Three other rescue groups also asked to take the dog, Rodriguez said.
It would be preferable for the dog to go to a rescue, which can determine if it needs to be and can be rehabilitated, she said.
"Our hope is the dog can be rehabilitated and adopted," she said. If it can't be rehabilitated, then rescue groups have the means to care for the dog, she said.
Shaw said as soon as officers removed the ties on the dog found Thursday -- ties that dug into the dog's mouth and cut off blood flow on the dog's legs, causing them to swell -- the dog "was very friendly and sweet."
The dog showed no other signs of aggression or abuse except it was "a little thin," Shaw said.
He estimated the dog had been in the field for four or five hours. The dog was tied with what appeared to be boot laces and it had a heavy chain around its neck.
Marousek, whose non-profit foundation raises money for shelters and rescue groups as well as promotes responsible pet ownership, said there is help for people who may find themselves no longer able to take care of a dog.
She suggested calling Alpha Canine Sanctuary, 391-8212, SPCA in Bakersfield, 323-8353 and Kern County Animal Control, 868-7100, to find the range of resources available.
Shaw said anyone with information about the abandoned dog found Thursday should call 868-7102. Two people have called so far and those leads are being investigated, Rodriguez said late Friday afternoon.
Marousek said it's also very important to prosecute the person who abused this animal or others. "There is a huge connection between animal abuse and human abuse," she said.
Rodriguez agreed, saying that in Thursday's case, animal control officials would ask for felony charges to be filed.