OCALA, Fla. — Marion County Animal Control has opened an investigation in an attempt to locate the owners of a dog left in an abandoned home since Christmas.
Abigail can be seen barking frantically in the windows of her home while neighbors watch, powerless to free her. They have expressed concern that the dog has no access to food or water. “We all got concerned. They could have some dead animals on their hands,” neighbor Tom Helmer said.
The Helmer family called Animal Services in hopes they could rescue the dog. “Do something right away, because they’re not going to last too long if they’ve lasted all that time before Christmas,” Helmer said.
Despite community concerns, local law calls for a three day notification period before the home is entered. “This is someone’s private property,” Marion County Animal Services spokeswoman Elaine De Iorio said. De Iorio said Animal Services can’t just kick down the door. “If they’re on vacation, if they’re in the hospital, if they’re having someone care for the animal, that’s not abandonment,” De Iorio said. Animal control officials intend to do visual checks from outside the home daily to determine whether the dog faces immediate danger of starvation. “If it’s extremely skinny and could die soon, Animal Services will seize those animals,” De Iorio said.
While officials sort out red tape, neighbors pray the animals can hold on for a few more days until the notification period has expired. “I just can’t see why they would do such a thing,” Helmer said.