Last summer, Animal Care and Control (ACC) picked up an abandoned a dog at Progress Park that was so emaciated and dehydrated that staff had no choice but to euthanize him.
Dubbed “Sweetie Boy” by ACC because “he seemed like a sweet dog and could use a boost,” ACC spokesperson Deb Campbell said the mastiff weighed between 60 to 70 pounds. Normal weight for a canine of his breed is typically 100 to 150 pounds. “He could have been as much as 90 pounds underweight,” she said. “It would take many weeks for a dog to become as emaciated as Sweetie Boy.”
Immediately after Sweetie Boy came to ACC’s attention he was rushed to an emergency veterinarian. “He was very weak, not responsive, and tests showed he had azotemia. And his organs were not functioning properly,” Campbell added.
Azotemia is an elevation in blood urea nitrogen, related to kidney function and hydration status. The most common causes for excess azotemia is dehydration or renal disease. “Given that this dog was treated aggressively with IV fluids for several hours and never produced any urine, it was an indicator of a poor prognosis,” Campbell said.
ACC decided to euthanize Sweetie Boy at the end of the day he was picked up to alleviate his suffering. “Our goal is to save animals, not euthanize them; this decision was difficult and heartbreaking for our staff,” she added.
The case sparked outrage and dismay on neighborhood website, NextDoor. The original post asking for information about the abandoned dog garnered more than 100 comments, with many residents calling for the dog’s abuser to be punished.
The investigation remains open, with no leads. ACC has little to go on, Campbell said. “What would help us is if residents and/or businesses in the area have security footage from July 16; they may have caught something that would help with the investigation,” she said.
The District Attorney’s (DA) office has been increasing its prosecution of animal cruelty cases. Recently, the DA secured a guilty verdict against Wakeen Best, who threw a dog off a parking garage. The office has recently charged men with felony cruelty in three other cases: Puppet, a small dog who was killed Downtown; Skunky, a pit bull puppy who was bludgeoned to death; and Juicy, a canine who was beaten in a Bay Area Rapid Transit station.
“One of the reasons video, from someone’s phone or security footage, is so important is it’s a game changer and provides the evidence needed to charge these cases,” Campbell said.
“No pet needs to suffer like this,” said Potrero Hill resident Tom Strother. “They can be surrendered to ACC or the SPCA and will be cared for in a humane way. If they are sick and need to be euthanized, at least it can be done without suffering. I don’t know how to begin to process this type of information. It hurts to see those images; yet it feels important that everyone sees them.”
If people have any information about this case they should call ACC at 415.554.9400 or email. Reports can be made anonymously.