A puppy left abandoned in a dumpster had probably been illegally bred — as well as being left mutilated by a layman’s attempt at “docking” its tail.
Local vet and SPCA chairman Andrew Madeiros, who had no choice but to euthanise the animal, expressed concern that an unlicensed amateur would perform an operation fit only for a veterinarian.
“It’s ridiculous, in this era, that people would resort to dumping a puppy when there are practices where you can turn them in and agencies out there who can take care of it,” Dr Madeiros told The Royal Gazette.
“Obviously, it had a medical issue. Regardless, somebody should have brought the poor little guy to a vet or turned him over to the SPCA — my guess is the dog was illegal and the person didn’t want to get caught. It’s amazing what people will do.”
The dog was discovered by a member of the public, dropped in a Devonshire garbage container on Thursday.
The anonymous benefactor handed the pup over to the SPCA, but it was left suffering from an incurable medical condition — probably from the bungled “docking”.
“The tail had been docked, and docked extremely short — possibly that was part of the problem, although other things could have caused it,” said Dr Madeiros.
Nerve damage to the puppy’s hindquarters left the animal unable to stop itself from defecating.
“It was impossible for him to control his bowels — obviously the puppy couldn’t survive that way, so the most humane thing to do was put him to sleep.
“It’s crazy — obviously we’ve been making enquiries as to whether any other practices have treated a puppy like this, to try and backtrack and find out where he may have come from. He had no microchip, so it was probably not a legal litter of puppies, although with young puppies the chips aren’t put in until they are eight weeks old.”
Dr Madeiros guessed the black and brown puppy to have been around two months old, and said it was probably a “min pin” or miniature pinscher.
The breed reaches about 12 pounds at adulthood, making the puppy a little large for a min pin, but the veterinarian said it could have been a mixed breed.
Dr Madeiros believes he’s the only vet on the Island who performs docking on animals — although he said he’s more accustomed to talking owners out of carrying out the procedure.
“That procedure should not be done by anyone unless they’re a licensed vet,” he said.
“There are very rare cases on the Island that are done by vets, and this puppy, as far as we know, wasn’t done by a vet. A lot of countries don’t allow it any more, and there is a movement away from it, even in Bermuda — but there are obviously people who are doing it, that I see in my own practice. That’s a concern. It’s not something that should be done by any lay person.”
The procedure once served a valid purpose, he said, but is long since outdated.
“Historically, with breeds that were originally used for rabbit hunting, that was the point — breeds like Jack Russells would go out in packs and go crazy, piling up on top of each other, so their tails would get injured. No one does that any more. So really what’s happened is that people are used to seeing these breeds without tails and it’s considered normal. But it’s becoming less acceptable. There’s no real reason for it any more.
“I used to do it a lot but it’s very rare — we talk to people about their options, and the vast majority of them don’t. But there are some people that are still very keen to get it done.”