An unemployed Angola man admitted Friday that he accidentally injured his puppy, having previously told police that he had found it in the woods while hunting because he couldn’t afford veterinary care for the dog.
Police said they will not be filing any charges against the man, who was ordered to surrender the dog.
Evans Police Chief Ernest P. Masullo said Saturday that the 4½-month-old female pug-Chihuahua mix underwent surgery and had a pin placed in its left rear leg bone just above the paw.
The dog is in the custody of the SPCA Serving Erie County and is expected to make a full recovery, after which it will be offered for adoption, Masullo said.
The Angola man had told police he was hunting deer Thursday in woods near the intersection of Holland Road and Route 5. He said he heard a car door slam, saw a white vehicle speeding away and then found the puppy.
After police released the dog’s photo to the media and it was posted online, they received a call from a woman who recalled selling the puppy in August. It had been born July 19.
The seller gave police the name, address and phone number of the buyer. It turned out to be the Angola man – the same person who called in the found-dog report.
Police called his cellphone and asked him to check in. On Friday, the Angola man came to the police station for an interview.
“He was extremely sincere [and] broke down bawling like a baby,” Masullo said.
Because no charges were filed, The News is not releasing the man’s name.
The Angola man said he accidentally stepped on the dog Thursday morning and knew it was hurt, but he called a veterinarian and found he couldn’t afford the cost of an office visit.
Masullo said the prices he was quoted ranged between $120 and $700.
Unable to get the veterinarian to agree to a payment plan, the Angola man came up with the idea of telling police he found the puppy.
“I just wanted the dog to be taken care of, because [neither] I nor my family have the means to pay for vet bills of that magnitude and [I] didn’t want the puppy to be euthanized,” the Angola man wrote in a statement released by police. “I am currently unemployed and didn’t know of any other options at the time of the incident. I truly hope the public can see the goodness of my heart behind this story and forgive me for what I did. I am truly sorry.”
The Angola man told police he was unaware that he might have been able to seek help from volunteer groups that help pay for veterinary care.
“I got a problem with these veterinarians. It’s all money, money, money,” Masullo said.
Masullo said veterinary clinics should be required to provide callers a list of groups that could help pay veterinary bills.
Masullo said the Angola man had never been in trouble before and truly believed he had no other options, so he decided not to file charges.
“Why add salt to the wound?” the chief asked.