By: Melissa Toupin
An elderly man brought a dog to the RISPCA Wednesday afternoon under the pretenses he found the rottweiler under the overpass on Warren Ave in East Providence. The dog, named Apollo, was in deplorable conditions. He is only 7 years old, but appears to look much older. The emaciated dog could barely walk. His back paw is infected with a cancerous growth the size of half a softball. RISPCA president Dr. E. J. Finocchio says the only treatment for the growth would have been to amputate, but coupled with Apollo's bad hips the quality of life for the dog would have been poor. The SPCA says the dog will have to be put down.
Investigators say there were red flags that led them to believe the man, who dropped the dog off, was actually his owner. Apollo was wearing a collar and a leash, and there were blankets in the back of the man's vehicle. The man had given them a false phone number and address, but then provided them with his real name. They were able to track him down and convinced him to turn him self in. Investigators will only say that he is a 69-year-old Warren man.
The man told the RISPCA that he knew Apollo was not well, but couldn't afford to get him help.
"That's no excuse," said Dr. Finocchio. "Ignorance is no excuse of the law. Because you are in financial straits...that is no defense of the law."
The man will be officially brought up on animal cruelty charges in the coming days. If found guilty he faces up to a year in jail and a $500 fine.
The SPCA says the man did the right thing by bringing them the dog. He just went about it the wrong way. There have been nearly a dozen similar cases in Rhode Island in the last year. Dr. Finocchio says in each case the owner who abandoned the dog was caught.