“She was hanging on to the log with her front feet, with her head propped up.”
Luckily, a passerby spotted the shepherd-husky mix, now named River, and reported her to Rome Animal Control.
When an officer arrived at the scene, she found River intentionally tied to the piece of wood by her own leash. The officer unknotted the dog and brought her to the Central New York SPCA (CNY SPCA), which handles the animal cruelty and neglect cases in the district.
“The log was partially submerged in the water and she was hanging on to the log with her front feet, and her head propped up,” Dee Schaefer, humane educator at the CNY SPCA, told The Dodo. “That whole area is under a flash flood watch. It’s a low-lying area, but had she not been taken out before this past weekend, she probably would have drowned.”
It was clear to shelter workers that River was hungry for affection.
“She was nervous when she arrived, but she’s really come out of her shell in the last two days that she’s been here. She’s an absolutely wonderful dog. Very, very sweet,” Schaefer said. “I don’t think there’s anybody she’s met here that she hasn’t liked.”
At 1 year old, River is a ball of energy, and ready to play at any moment. Despite what she’s been through, she remains a trusting and happy dog.
“When you pet her, she immediately just leans right into it,” Schaefer added. “She’s also very interested in her surroundings — when she goes outside, she loves to sniff.”
Still, shelter workers wanted justice for River.
With no microchip or leads as to River’s past life, the animal cruelty investigators released her picture to the local news in hopes that someone could identify the dog or her owner. Soon after, a tip came in.
River’s owner had allegedly paid a man $50 to get rid of the dog, according to Schaefer. Both have since been arrested and charged with a Class A misdemeanor for animal abandonment.
“He just didn’t want the dog anymore, and instead of taking it to one of the two shelters in the area they decided to tie her up,” Schaefer said. “He didn’t think he’d be in trouble because he didn’t actually do it.”
Since being made available for adoption, River has acquired quite a few admirers who have been following her heartbreaking story from the beginning and are ready to give her a better life. “We’ve had a lot of phone calls on her already,” Schaefer said.
The shelter is now trying to match the sweet dog with the right owner — one who will love and care for her for the rest of her life. They want to be sure that, this time, River has a forever person who will never change their mind.