Staten Island Advance, May 9, 1998
Al ... In Good Hands
Several Islanders Come to the Aid of Dog Found Shot in the Back
By RICH CIRILLO
ADVANCE STAFF WRITER
A dog that was found shot in a Travis shopping center lay in pain for more than 3-1/2 hours yesterday -- apparently because the city Center for Animal Care and Control (CACC) didn't have the manpower to get there any sooner.
But luckily for the pooch, this story had a happy ending, thanks to a group of caring sales clerks, some police officers and the South Shore Veterinary Medical Center in New Dorp.
"Right now he is very sedated, because he was in some degree of pain and was so. frightened with the whole thing," said Dr. Theresa Cavallaro yesterday afternoon. "He was a little aggressive at first, but that's understandable considering what he's been through."
According to employees of Modell's Sporting Goods and the Odd Job Trading outlet, both in the Caldor shopping center, the tan, shepherd-type mixed breed was first spotted at about 8 a.m.
"I got in for work, and I just saw him walking around the lot," said Jose Quinones, a Modell's employee. "At first I didn't know he had been shot."
The dog -- estimated to be about 3 or 4 years old -- stopped to rest in between the two stores' entrances, and it was there the employees noticed blood dripping down his back,
Odd Job employee Ceil Catanese and other workers began calling CACC and other authorities to get help, and police officers from the 122nd Precinct were the first on the scene.
The cops stood watch over the animal while waiting for CACC, but, as time went on, no one from the agency arrived.
"We called them over and over again, but no one seemed to care," said Ms. Catanese. "They told us they only had one man and one vehicle for all of Brooklyn and Staten Island."
Chris Hamm, director of the Island CACC shelter, confirmed that the agency didn't respond until after noon because the rescue truck driver assigned to the Island was busy on another job.
The agency's main rescue office is located in Brooklyn, so all calls have to be dispatched from there, even if the injured animal is in another borough.
"We referred the caller to the office in Brooklyn, but they indicated that there was no truck nearby, so they asked us to send someone over from our office since they thought we could get there quicker."
But by the time the CACC worker finally went out to get the dog, it was already 12:30 p.m. -more than 3 1/2 hours after the initial calls.
"This is unbelievable," said Ed Lopez, an employee of Odd Job who made it his duty to sit with the animal the entire time. "How can it take so long? You can see there's a trail of blood that travels right along the sidewalk where he was walking. It's like no one cares."
Other concerned workers filled a small plastic container with water and offered the dog shortbread cookies.
When the CACC worker finally got to the shopping center, he didn't pick up the dog, apparently because of a miscommunication in which he was told that the Staten Island Council for Animal Welfare was already handling the situation.
Lisa Rooney, vice president of the not-for-profit council, could not be reached yesterday for comment.
Meanwhile, workers in the shopping center were calling private Veterinary practices all over the borough. While most of them reportedly asked for a fee, the South ShoreVeterinary Medical Center was one of the few that was willing to care for the animal for free, they said.
So police took the initiative. They called the Emergency Services Unit to tranquilize the dog, and then drove him to the New Dorp facility themselves.
Once there, he was sedated for the pain and hooked up to an intravenous drip to rehydrate his system, said Dr. Cavallaro.
"There were a few pellet wounds to the back and shoulder area," said the veterinarian. "We haven't taken them out yet, so we can't say if it was definitely a pellet or bullet, but we believe it was a pellet."
Dr. Cavallaro said they believe the dog has been owned by someone because he is already neutered.
"We'd sure like to find the owner if we could. But in the meantime we'll treat the animal and keep him until we can find the owner or somebody who wants him."
While many employees said it was the first time they had seen the dog in the area, Lopez remembered spotting the animal tied up in the parking lot just a week ago.
'It was just abandoned over there in the lot," he said. " Someone came up and asked me if I knew who owned it, and I said no, He untied it and let it go."
The employees were angered to think about someone cruel enough to shoot a dog.
"How can someone live with themselves after they shoot a defenseless dog?" questioned one of the workers.
"Cowardice," answered another.
Anyone with information about the dog's owner or anyone who would be interested in adopting the animal can call the South Shore Veterinary Medical Center at 990-2600.