HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Video from Sunday shows a woman linking a dog up to a fence outside the Hot Springs Animal Services Center and leaving the pet behind while the facility was closed and the gate was locked.
The video had been shared nearly 900 times before the Hot Springs Animal Services Center removed it from its Facebook page.
“It pulled at people’s heartstrings, and…there’s a right way and a wrong way to surrender an animal to us,” Sgt. Chris Lackey says.
Lackey is the Director of Animal Services for Hot Springs and also a Hot Springs police officer.
Lackey says the woman also left a note and returned a second time to leave food and water for the dog, according to officials. She has since come forward about what happened. Lackey also says animal abandonment can lead to criminal charges because it violates a city ordinance related to animal cruelty.
Lackey says it’s actually a common problem that people drop off their pets and leave them behind without notifying anyone or bringing them by during regular business hours.
“People get desperate at certain times,” Sgt. Lackey says.
The woman in the video has not been charged with any crime, according to Sgt. Lackey. He says the woman told him that the dog was sick and had recently become aggressive toward her child.
When animal control officers arrived at the facility on Monday, which opens at noon on weekdays, the dog had escaped.
The facility enlisted the help of the woman to come back and call out for the dog, which ultimately returned and is now in the care of the animal shelter.
“We don’t condone tying an animal to a fence,” Lackey says.
The Hot Springs Animal Services Center is open on weekdays from noon – 5 p.m.