Staff at a shelter in Austin, Texas, were devastated after finding a labradoodle with a badly injured paw tied to a nearby tree.

Now named Independence Day by the staff at Austin Pets Alive! (APA!), the dog is currently recovering from an amputation performed on July 9, just six days after he was found.

Luis Sanchez, the shelter’s public relations director, recounted the moments after the dog was found. Newsweek:”The clinic director noticed that the rope – a slip leash – was tied several times around the tree, indicating that it had probably been there for a few hours.

“She noticed the dog had a bandage from a veterinary clinic with the date July 2 written on it. The bandage had come off near his injury, exposing his paw. The paw showed signs of infection and also potentially self-mutilation to the point where there was an exposed bone.”

Photo of the abandoned labradoodle on Independence Day. Luis Sanchez said the dog was found on the road leading to the shelter, tied to a tree in some bushes.

Austin Pets Alive!

Upon arrival at the clinic, staff quickly administered care and medication to the injured dog. Due to the severity of the injury, Independence Day had to be sent to the city shelter for a mandatory three-day hold. Once back at APA!, the clinic had no choice but to remove his paw.

The Independence Day abandonment is a poignant reminder of the financial hardships many pet owners face. “We suspect the owner couldn’t afford the veterinary care, which likely cost him thousands of dollars,” Sanchez said. “Right now, our local shelter has closed, so they may have felt like they had no other choice and were hoping we would find him.”

This situation is not unique. According to a report from the Humane Society, approximately 20 million pets in the United States suffer from neglect due to their families’ poverty, and 70% of them have never seen a veterinarian.

The survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States among 2,042 American adults and found that 43% of pet owners have been unable to provide for their pets at some point due to financial reasons.

To address these issues, Sanchez stressed that it is “important to seek out community resources to find affordable veterinary care, assistance and other resources.”

“Our vet also recommends visiting a few veterinary clinics in hopes of finding one that will work with you to reduce costs or work with you on payment.”

APA! also offers a program called Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender (PASS) to help pet owners pay for their medical expenses. This program aims to prevent pet abandonment by providing financial assistance and support to those in need.

Vets were forced to remove his mutilated paw on July 9. The abandoned puppy is now looking for a forever home.

Austin Pets Alive!

Despite a difficult start to the month, Independence Day, described as a “kind and gentle” dog, is on the road to recovery.

Sanchez said Newsweek:”He is currently recovering and should be able to move around today or tomorrow and be fully recovered in a few weeks and ready for adoption. He is currently looking for a medical foster home so he can recover in the peace and quiet of a home.”

Since the story was shared on their Instagram (@austinpetsalive), the shelter has received donations and support from many people.

“Poor darling,” one user said, and another outraged person wrote: “People who can’t afford to care for their pets should maybe stop buying designer breeds. This is so needlessly tragic.”

Independence Day’s story reminds us of the importance of community support and resources to keep pets and their families together. As Sanchez concludes, “We just want people to know that there are options before they get to the point of surrender. We know it’s probably hard to surrender a pet and go through that process, but there are many other resources out there.”

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