KILLEEN (September 16, 2013)—Killeen resident Michelle Cusenza, who came across a photo on Facebook over the weekend of a dog tied to a dumpster and then later found the dog dead after determining the origin of the photo, is calling for stricter penalties for animal abuse.
"I was very sad that someone would tie a dog to a dumpster in this Texas heat to die,” she said.
The current city ordinance says those convicted of animal cruelty will no longer be allowed to own or even have an animal in their possession.
Cusenza reached out to the Paws in Paradise Pet Crematory, which cremated the dog at no charge.
Co-owner Laurie Leshaun said it’s not the first time the crematorium has had to deal with a pet that was abandoned and later died.
"Pets are abandoned quite often," Leshaun said.
"We have people leaving pets at our front door, tied to our bench. We find them dead quite a bit."
One reason, she said, may be the number of soldiers in the area.
"Maybe because its such a transient town, that the military are being deployed quite often. We don't really have an answer to that but it is quite a big issue," she said. "I think people maybe don't know the resources available to them."
"People will leave them in their backyards when they leave," she said. "I see it a lot actually."
Killeen Animal Control Shelter officials say they get anywhere from 500 to 700 animals including dogs every month.
The Copperas Cove Animal Shelter reported about 1,257 dogs received at its facility last year.
Cusenza said there are at least five animal rescue shelters in the area so people don't have to abandon their pets.
Educating the community about the rescue centers in the area is something Cusenza hopes will help curb the increasing number of neglected and abused animal population.
Animal Shelters, Rescue Groups, Resources
More Paws 2 Love Rescue in Killeen email@example.com
Texas Humane Heros in Killeen (512) 260-3602
Hands 4 paws rescue in Killeen Animalwelfare@hands4pawsrescue.org
School of Wags Mastiff Rescue in Killeen Info@schoolofwags.com
APAC Rescue in Temple Myhapptytail@yahoo.com
Killeen Animal Control (254) 526-4455
Copperas Cove Animal Shelter (254) 547-5584
Fort Hood Stray Animal Facility (254) 287-4675
Paws Humane Society in Killeen Paws@pawshumanesociety.org
Bell County Animal Shelter in Belton (254) 933-6780
Nolanville Animal Services firstname.lastname@example.org
Paws in Paradise Pet Crematory and Burial Services email@example.com