Dogs found abandoned outside local animal shelter | KOB 4

Dogs found abandoned outside local animal shelter

Casey Torres
Updated: October 16, 2020 12:44 PM
Created: October 16, 2020 12:30 PM

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Watermelon Mountain Ranch is dealing with dogs being dumped at their property.

Sara Heffern, the executive director of the no-kill shelter, said they’ve had four dogs abandoned recently.

“Over the last few months, we’ve come in to find dogs tied up to our main gates," she said. "We have found dogs with brand new, clean leashes sitting inside of our gates. They’ve thrown puppies over it."

Coco is the latest dog to be surrendered without notice Tuesday. She was left in a kennel with some food and water outside the shelter’s gate on a day they were closed. A note was taped to the crate.

“The note was so heartbreaking. It was, ‘She’s been neglected. She’s been starved. She’s in poor health. Someone please help her,'” said Heffern.

Coco was found by an employee by chance. Heffern said he happened to be at the shelter and found the dog when he was leaving.

Heffern said Coco might not have made it if she was left there until the next morning — the temperatures could drop or animals like hawks, coyotes or stray dogs could have gotten to her.

“We can’t imagine what she’s gone through in her first four months of her life,” said Heffern.

She said they will take surrenders in by appointment and without judgement, but leaving them to fend for themselves is not the right way — even if the owner wants to remain anonymous.

Heffern explained people can give the shelter a call, send a message on social media or email them to let them know they will be dropping off a pet so someone will be there waiting.

“If they’re tied up to something, if they’re left in there—They can’t defend themselves. They don’t have a chance. At least give them a chance and let us know,” she said.

You can send an email at, or visit the dog or cat surrender pages before dropping off a pet.

As for the abandoned dogs, they’ve all been adopted. Coco is in good health, and expected to be up for adoption in about a month.

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