MERCED — When Art Godoy took his trash out Wednesday afternoon, he got a surprise.
The Dumpster he opened to throw his trash in was almost empty.
Except for a small, shivering white dog.
"I was ready to throw the trash away, and the dog scared me," Godoy, owner of Merced Cabinet Works on West 14th Street, said.
"I didn't know if it would bite me or not."
After he saw the dog, he called the Merced Police Department.
Officer Eddie Drum came to the trash bin, located among a few industrial-type buildings.
"I called for an animal control truck so we could take the dog to the animal shelter, where it's warm," Drum said.
Police officer Frank Vazzar drove the truck up next to the trash bin, reached in and brought out the little dog, which made no effort to bite.
Godoy found the dog about 1:20 p.m., and the dog was out of the trash bin and on its way to the shelter about 45 minutes later.
Godoy had no idea who might have put the dog in the Dumpster, but speculated that it was homeless people.
Kristi Caseri, animal control supervisor for the Merced County Animal Shelter at Castle Commerce Center, said the dog is a male poodle. But his fur was heavily matted and filthy.
"He's very sweet," she said. "We will clip down his hair when he gets neutered."
The dog wore a faded red collar and trailed a thin blue leash when he was taken out of the trash bin.
Caseri said the dog is about 1½ years old.
He was scanned at the shelter, but carried no implanted microchip, she said.
"I don't know what kind of person would do this," Godoy said. "It's just crazy."