CLEVELAND-- The Cleveland Animal Protective League is investigating after a dog was dumped outside a Tremont restaurant.
Surveillance video from Fat Cats on West 10th Street showed a woman driving a white sedan pull up in front of the restaurant around 10:30 a.m. Monday. She is seen pulling a dog out of the back seat and removing its collar before driving away.
"It was heartbreaking," said Fat Cats Chef and Owner Ricardo Sandoval, who reviewed the footage after staff members noticed the abandoned dog and called animal control officers.
He said the dog, who appeared to have recently given birth, was staying in the same place where she was ditched, seemingly waiting for her owner to return.
"It's like man's best friend, loyal to the end, coming back to the same spot, wanting to be picked up," Sandoval said. "And there's nobody coming to pick you up."
The dog was transferred to the APL, which said it appears to be a 5-year-old Rottweiler Mastiff mix. Staff has named her Chibi, and said she will likely be going up for adoption.
APL President Sharon Harvey said investigators are working to identify the owner, who could face charges. Abandoning an animal is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
"That is a crime. That is illegal in the state of Ohio, and to me it's even more of a moral crime if you haven't even reached out ahead of time to see if there are other alternatives and people who can help," Harvey said.
She said instead of abandoning an animal, people should first try to find someone to care for it. If that's not possible, she said to contact a local humane society or rescue group that can help arrange a surrender.
"If these animals have lived in a home as a member of the family, you throw them out on the street, they have no idea how to take care of themselves," Harvey said. "So it truly is a selfish, inhumane act."
Sandoval said he is working with his restaurant staff to potentially set up a program to help defray surrender costs, which total $60 for Cuyahoga County residents at the Cleveland APL.
"Don't just release it, turn it in," Sandoval said.