KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 17, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark
Two Guinea Pigs were dumped in a Katy resident’s truck bed. The family chose to keep and love the young animals rather than return them to an unwanted environment. Authorities report an increase of animal dumping and abandonment as the pandemic continues.
The Baileys found two guinea pigs dumped in their truck bed. Photo credit: Rick Bailey
Animal Abandonment on the Rise
The Harris County Animal Cruelty Taskforce says the greater Katy area experiences more animal abandonment than animal dumping. Animal abandonment is when someone is evicted or has to leave their home and they just leave their pets.
Katy Family Finds Guinea Pigs Dumped in their Truck Bed
These pets left behind are not always dogs and cats. According to the Harris County Animal Cruelty Taskforce other than your traditional pets, fish and guinea pigs are the most common pets abandoned or dumped.
A Katy family recently experienced this when they found two guinea pigs dumped (cage and all) in the bed of their pickup truck.
One Sunday morning Leesa Bailey walked outside and came back in saying that there were animals in the truck bed.
Rick Bailey reviewed home security camera footage and a neighbor walk down the sidewalk past his house the night before. The neighbor carried a cage. The footage showed the individual disappear behind his truck and then walked off.
“We’re animal people so we were in shock and kind of disappointed in our neighbors,” says Bailey. “How could they do something like that?”
The neighbors used to have the cage visible in their open garage. “The cage is no longer there because it’s in my house,” says Bailey.
The two guinea pigs that are about a year old were dumped around 9:20 p.m. and then they were found at 8:00 a.m.
Bailey said that if they couldn’t keep the animals, he wished the family would have come to him and together they could figure something out.
After the initial shock went away, the Baileys went to the store and got food and supplies for their new tiny family members. Their guinea pigs are about a year old. Initially they were very skittish but are warming up to their new home, especially the Bailey’s daughter.
The Bailey guinea pigs found a happily ever after to their story. The same is sadly, not the case for many animals in the area.
Pandemic, Economic Difficulties Increase Animal Abandonment
“It’s hard to put a number on it but these cases of animal abandonment have gone up with the pandemic as families suffer economic hardships,” says Robert Henslee with Harris County Constable’s Office Precinct 5.
The pandemic and economic difficulties it’s brought on have forced families to move and in some cases, they cannot take pets with them.
“Many times, these families do care for their pets but just can’t take them with them,” says Henslee. Authorities have found dogs in abandoned apartment units, left behind with an open bag of dog food.
“We hope in these cases that the pets are found by landlords or apartment management while the animals are still living,” says Henslee.
One time the taskforce found 9 cats, only 4 were still alive in a home. The Taskforce Officers have to deal with a lot.
Once abandoned animals are found there is a process. First, a note must be posted requesting that the animals are claimed. Then they go before a court hearing before the county can own them and attempt to get them adopted.
“If their life is endangered there will be an emergency hearing,” says Henslee.
The Harris County Animal Cruelty Taskforce partners with the Houston Humane Society. They oversee medical evaluations and care.
“I’ve seen a poor dog hide in the closet trying to figure out where their loved ones are,” says Henslee.
Find Help, Don't Dump
There are solutions if families cannot keep their pets. Reach out to shelters. Authorities urge residents to never dump or abandon their animals.
Always Report Animal Cruelty
The Harris County Animal Cruelty Taskforce was formed to streamline the process of where and how animal cruelty can be reported in the Greater Houston Area. If anyone suspects animal cruelty visit their website to report it or call 832-927-PAWS.