LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – It’s a felony crime that very few people report and even fewer are caught. But it’s happening more often in the Nevada desert and in many cases, the victims don’t have a voice and don’t stand a chance.
Two young dogs may not remember the rough start they faced on a stretch of road in Boulder City.
“It breaks my heart. It disgusts me,” said Devon Tilman, who adopted the dogs.
Disgusted that the dogs were tossed out of a car.
“You take the time to drive all the way out here and boot them out into the elements,” said Ann Inabnitt. “Something’s wrong with you.”
Animal Control Officer Ann Inabnitt wasn’t surprised when she got the call. She picks up pets near Boulder City all the time.
“It’s easy to get here. It’s easy to dump them where no one can see and easy to get back out,” she said.
The underpass conceals an ugly crime.
“They starve to death. They suffer from the elements and die. They get run over by cars,” Inabnitt.
Sadly, it’s not the only place where dogs are dumped. With five million acres, pockets of Lake Mead are problems too.
“It’s very hot, very dry, very rough and hard terrain,” said Ranger Julianne Renner, National Park Service biologist.
One spot where dogs have also been spotted is at the northwest area of the lake in what’s area called Government Wash. A purebred poodle, who was stolen in Phoenix, turned up in the wash area weeks later.
Avid camper Bruno Loubiere enjoys the seclusion but is in disbelief about deliberate abandonment.
“That’s such a shame why would you ever do that? What’s your relationship with your dog?” He said.
“If you are going to leave a domesticated animal out in the park, it probably will not survive,” Renner said. “Again, it could die of starvation, dehydration it could be eaten by a wild animal.”
The National Park Service does not keep records of stray animals but Boulder City is the one they call and Inabnitt sees a painful pattern.
“Hang a right, dump your dog out, get on the highway and keep on going,” she said. “Once an animal has been out for a very short period of time, they get scared and they run. They run further into the desert and they suffer the elements. You know what happens. We see them dead all the time.”
The Boulder City shelter receives more than 800 dogs, cats and birds a year. Roughly 10 percent of them are dumped but that number is climbing.
“It’s hard,” Inabnitt said. “It’s hard when people care so little”
She relies on social media for rehoming and reunions. The poodle that was found at the lake got lucky.
“Please don’t dump them! Please don’t dump them! There are so many shelters that will take them and find homes for them,” Tilman said.
“Every time, I think I’ve seen it all, I haven’t seen it all,” Inabnitt said. “But you know what? You got to shake it off and go out and save the ones you can save.”
She has turned around the Boulder City Animal Shelter. It’s now considered no kill with an 96 percent survival rate. It just received a $25,000 grant from Maddie’s Pet Project. The money will expand spay and neuter, vaccinations, advertising and create a cat colony room.
But solving the dumping dilemma takes all of us. So, if you see someone abandoning an animal, call police and get a description of the car.