LIVINGSTON -- Animal control officer Kristin Lucas is used to finding animals in dire straits.
But on Wednesday, she saw something she had never seen before.
Someone had put an elderly Chihuahua in a garbage bag, tied the bag shut and thrown it into the Dumpster behind Sam's Food City in Livingston.
An employee of the grocery store saw the dog. Thinking it was either dead or injured, the employee called Lucas.
"I looked in the Dumpster, and all I saw was a head sticking out of a tiny hole," Lucas said. "The hole was just big enough for his head. He had obviously worked to get his head out so he could breathe."
The dog was covered in urine and had suffered puncture wounds on his body, Lucas said. But other than that, and the fact that he was an older dog, there wasn't much wrong with him.
Lucas took the dog to Valley Animal Hospital in Merced, where Christine McFadden is taking care of him.
"He's an older dog, has some teeth issues, but not too bad," McFadden said. "He also has some puncture wounds where it looks like an animal attacked him."
Despite his wounds, McFadden said the dog won't need surgery and is doing well.
Lucas said that throwing an unwanted pet into a Dumpster isn't the way to deal with pets.
"If someone doesn't want their dog, that's what the shelter is there for," Lucas said. "Most people don't make a snap decision to get rid of their dog, they think about it for a while."
She said if a dog is old or sick, having it put to sleep at a veterinarian's office or at the animal shelter is the kindest way to deal with the pet.
The little male dog is neutered, according to McFadden, and should make someone who likes older dogs a good pet.
"This dog could have suffered a horrible, horrible death," Lucas said. "Thank goodness someone found him before that happened."
Anyone interested in the Chihuahua mix dog can call Lucas at the Livingston Police Department, 394-5585.