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"They were scared." Dogs abandoned outside Marley's Mutts are safe, raising importance of responsible pet care

The latest in what Marley's Mutts says is a growing trend: two dogs were abandoned outside their rescue. In this case, they could take them in, but they encourage pet owners to ask for help if needed.
Posted at 5:59 PM, Apr 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-16 20:59:21-04

TEHACHAPI, Calif. (KERO) — A heartbreaking start to the day: two dogs left abandoned outside of Marley's Mutts. They were able to take them in, but they urge pet owners to seek help before they find themselves in crisis.

  • Two dogs were left abandoned outside of Marley's Mutts in Tehachapi, and they say this is part of a growing trend of people abandoning animals.
  • In this scenario, Marley's Mutts says they were able to keep the dogs at their rescue, but that is not the norm. They encourage pet owners to reach out for help before they are in a crisis.
  • According to California Penal Code Section 597s, anyone who willingly abandons an animal can be fined up to $1,000 and/or spend up to six months in jail.


It's what no rescue wants to see. Two dogs left on their property with nowhere left to go. That's exactly what Marley's Mutts employees encountered last Wednesday, April 10.

"There were two dogs, one tied to each fence post, tied with really thin rope…We all walked out and met the dogs out here, thankfully, they were friendly. Scared, very scared," said Connor Long.

These once scared and abandoned dogs are now full-time residents at Marley's Mutts Rescue Ranch.

Connor Long, operations manager, says this was a unique situation.

"Our primary purpose as a rescue in how we choose to bring dogs in is to focus on the at-risk dogs that are already in the shelters, so we very rarely take in owner surrenders," Long said.

While all of the variables happened to work out, Long says, make no mistake.

"It is illegal to dump dogs. That is not something that we can accommodate here because we have to worry about staffing and what our population is," Long said.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened. Long says recently a pitbull was abandoned and left to roam along Route 202. In that case, Long says a community member helped find the dog a foster family.

"Please, please, please do not dump your dogs. We have coyotes, we have high traffic, we have rattlesnakes," said Long. "To leave a dog either tethered to something or just loose out here is incredibly dangerous."

Long says Marley's Mutts currently has around 44 dogs at the ranch.

"That's the spot we like to try to keep it," said Long. "That allows us to be able to step in emergencies and take on a dog or two."

The two most recent additions are now renamed Hansel and Gretel.

Long says they reported the dogs as strays to Kern County Animal Services, but no one claimed them within the stray holding period. Director of KCAS, Nick Cullen, says in total, owners have 72 hours to claim their pets once they are reported as strays. Lost animals can be viewed on the shelter's website.

"We took in 9,200 dogs last year," Cullen said. "Probably about 95% of them were turned in as strays."

The unclaimed dogs stay in shelters, or in Hansel and Gretel's case, they can be taken in by other rescues.

Long says Marley's Mutts runs a Facebook page called "Friends of Marley's Mutts" whose purpose is to network privately-owned dogs that are looking to be rehomed or fostered, found stray dogs, or for people needing support.

"Before you get to that point, ask for help," Long said. "There are so many organizations out there that are happy to provide you with resources to help keep the dog in the home."

Long says there are many social media groups people post found stray animals in, hoping to reunite them with their families.

"The number of dogs being posted having been found stray with no owners claiming, and the number of people looking to rehome dogs has definitely increased just in the first four months of this year," said Long.

So, what can you do when you find a stray dog? Nick Cullen says as a county resident, bring the dog into the county shelter.

Other ways to help include becoming a foster family, volunteering at shelters, or donating. Ultimately, taking pet care seriously. Cullen says to fully assume the responsibility, care for them and ensure they are spayed and neutered.

"Being a responsible pet owner is the best way that anybody can help solve the crisis that we are in," Cullen said.

"If they're in your home, you're gonna care for them, you're going to make them your family," Long said.

Information on how to donate to Marley's Muttsor Kern County Animal Servicescan be found on their websites. To become a foster family for Marley's Mutts, visit this link. To become a foster for KCAS, click here.

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