A woman named “Melanie Wichester” dropped her dog “William Katz” off at a Massachusetts groomer last Thursday.
But both of those names are fake — and she abandoned the sick and neglected dog at the Secret Garden Pet Resort in East Bridgewater, officials say. The dog had pressure sores and an ear infection that officials say appeared to be a result of a neglectful owner, according to KETV7.
“The dog’s ear infections will likely require surgery,” according to NECN. Chelsea Weiand, law enforcement officer for the Massachusetts SPCA, said authorities are searching for the dog’s owner in hopes of bringing her to justice, according to NECN.
“In Massachusetts, animal cruelty is a felony,” she said, according to NECN. “You can do up to 5 years in prison, so if we can find whoever left this dog we would like to prosecute them.”
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Footage also shows that, while the Secret Garden Pet Resort has a long driveway, animal control officer Lisa McKay said, the woman opted to walk up the pavement with her dog. McKay theorized the suspect did that so authorities couldn’t find her through her car, according to The Enterprise News.
She was wearing a grey shirt and an eye patch, surveillance video shows, and has long red hair tucked into a ponytail.
Lara Cori, who co-owns the Secret Garden Pet Resort, said she reached out to McKay after the unidentified woman didn’t answer phone calls and never returned to pick up the dog, according to The Enterprise News. McKay in turn contacted Weiand, who says she learned the dog apparently had a health certificate from a Wisconsin veterinarian.
But that veterinarian denied ever treating the dog, The Enterprise News reported, further complicating the puzzling investigation.
“She really took some time to make this seem believable,” Weiand said, according to The Enterprise News.
CBS reports that in about a week, the bulldog will be moved to the Long Island Bulldog Rescue, which you can contact if you are considering adopting the abandoned pup. In the meantime, the dog is at the Secret Garden Pet Resort.
As authorities continue to seek out the woman, Cori said she just wants “to know why” this happened.
“I’m not mad at her,” Cori said, according to NECN. “People do have circumstances where they’re desperate, but I just wish that she took different steps.”
You are asked to call (800) 628-5808 if you have information about the case.