When San Antonio resident Edith Melendez, via ViralHog.com, recently saw a suspicious car pull up outside on her street, she just had a really bad feeling about it. The local realtor said her neighborhood has a lot of boarded-up houses due to a new development being built and sometimes sees people dumping old furniture out there or even doing drugs. But this time, she witnessed something a lot worse — a car full of people dumping dogs.
It wasn’t a new sight, either. “A lot of people dump pets there,” Melendez, an animal advocate, tells PEOPLE. “It was the first time where I had enough time to catch it on tape. I’m just tired of it.”
“I put on my shoes and walked out to the dead end,” Melendez explains. She also brought her smartphone and filmed the incident, believing it was a way to show her neighbors and townsfolk “how not to dump dogs and to do the right thing” instead.
Melendez says that a car pulled up to a dead end street, and a woman started pulling a lot of dogs out of the vehicle. In the video, four dogs are seen being dumped on the side of the road. (As it turns out, five were actually left there — one dog was already dumped and ran off prior to Melendez’s camera catching the woman in action.)
Melendez confronts the woman, who most of the time ignores her and continues to dump the dogs. The driver of the car then “panics,” she says. The Good Samaritan then decided to post the video footage on Facebook, where it has since gone viral.
SARYN CHORNEY April 19, 2018 02:11 PM
Because of all the attention the clip received, the driver of the car and the female in the clip were uncovered. Internet sleuths were able to discern the car’s license plate number and track down the dog dumping people. Melendez says at this point, the actual owner of the dogs — a different woman — came forward to take responsibility, allegedly because she felt badly her friends — or family, as the case may be — were being threatened. (It not known whether she felt bad about dumping the dogs.)
According to San Antonio Animal Care Services rep Lisa Norwood, the other people in the car were the sister, brother and sister’s boyfriend. “They were asked by the owner of the dogs to dump the animals and they did so while being filmed by a Good Samaritan who sent the video to San Antonio’s Animal Care Services Friday afternoon,” Norwood tells PEOPLE.
“We were able to send police officers to the scene who were able to get 3 of the dogs very fast — they were incredibly sweet and eager to be around people. The owner then brought in the fourth dog after she went to the scene after turning her in following the social media storm. Another person found a fifth dog,” said Norwood.
Currently, three of the dogs are with local Animal Care Services until the investigation closes. The fourth dog was found by the owner, according to Melendez, who surrendered it properly this time and could face fines of $300 per each abandoned dog.
“Judges set fees for citations,” says Norwood. “So, the fines would potentially be about $300 per dog for the violation of law once the charges are issued, that should be in addition to the shelter fees for surrendering the animals since we now have to take on the responsibility of their health & care.”
The fifth dog was found injured Tuesday night by another local person, although the citizen has not yet turned the dog in. However, the good news, says Norwood, is that two of the dogs have already been adopted and the other three are headed to a rescue.
“Dumping animals is not only so wrong, it is illegal,” Norwood tells PEOPLE. “Dogs deserve better and San Antonio’s Animal Care Services is also moving forward with cruelty charges against the parties involved.”
A volunteer foster pet parent and dog mom herself, Melendez says she thinks the need to teach people about pet awareness and behavioral issues. Her personal motto is “train the human “and” the dog.” And as a realtor, she’s even seen pets that have been abandoned in vacated homes.
Melendez hopes the video she filmed will inspire the city of San Antonio to “do something,” as well as inspire local people to donate towards animal rescue or volunteer these services themselves. Her biggest wish, she says, is for San Antonio to become a no-kill city one day.