EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) There was an instant connection between a local family and a Siberian Husky after a viral video on social media showed what appeared to be owners dropping the dog off on the side of the road in Horizon City.
“I saw the video of him being dropped off and when I saw his face, I was like that’s my dog,” the family said.
The family adopting the pet did not want to be named to protect their identity.
KTSM was there to capture the moment the new family picked up the abandoned dog from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday afternoon.
Local animal rescue groups told KTSM they were in Horizon near Ascension St. and Temperance Ave. on a separate animal rescue call when they happened to witness a vehicle dragging the dog before unleashing him and leaving him on the side of the road and driving away.
The dog in the video, then chased the vehicle as it drove away.
Barbara Valencia, with the Huckleberry Hound Rescue group, helped facilitate the dog’s rescue.
“It’s just heartbreaking, troublesome,” Valencia said of the video. “As a group, all of us rescues pitched in and we shared the video to work together to get this Husky saved.”
The person recording the video, Joy Domingue,z said she called authorities after witnessing the abandonment and filed a case report. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
“We’re seeing this on an everyday basis the only reason it got so much attention is because someone videotaped it, but it’s happening every day,” Valencia said.
Valencia said there is a growing problem in El Paso of stray pets and abandoned animals. She said El Paso Animal Services is not doing its part by taking in these pets. Animal Services said it never stopped animal intakes and they are done on a case-by-case basis.
“That’s through our community and pet support system so they are able to stagger in our intakes,” Gina Ramirez, the Animal Services Animal Protection manager said. “We are always here if the rescues need our help we are here and we always want to meet in the middle so if they need our help we are here because in the end this is our community and we want to help our pets here.”
As for the abandoned dog, the new family will foster him until they can formally adopt him when the investigation finishes.
“It’s very heartbreaking for this animal who couldn’t understand why they were leaving and chased after the car,” the new family said.
The family said they bought their new loved one toys, a pool to play in, a bed and pet care supplies.
“I think he’s doing us an act of kindness by completing our family, he’s doing this for us more than us for him.”
He has a new name too. The family named him Nanook, after the movie, The Lost Boys.
“The dog’s name was Nanook and the fact he was a lost boy, he’s not lost anymore”
Animal Services said it offers rehoming resources through its Community and Pet Support program for families needing assistance finding a new home for their pet.
A spokesperson said during the pandemic especially, they’ve seen a continued need for food, pet supplies and other support services and have increased assistance to help families keep their pets
Animal Services said it suggests that if the community needs help because they are anticipating a move, it’s best to reach out now and not wait until the last minute.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said abandonment is considered animal cruelty, a Class A misdemeanor that can be punishable by a year in county jail or a fine up to $4,000. Investigators have not released information on the people in the video at this time.