Woman rescues shih tzu abandoned at NE Houston park

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ABC13's Deborah Wrigley talks with the woman who spotted someone dumping a dog at a park | The woman then steps in to save the canine.

Timing is everything, and it meant the difference between a tiny dog meeting an uncertain end or a bright future.

On Monday, a red car pulled into the parking lot of Melrose Park in northeast Houston, a notorious spot for people to abandon animals they no longer want. Some are killed on roads and others are left in crates - without food or water - for someone to find.

Brenda Carrizal was that person Monday afternoon. She was on her way to the Harris County Animal Shelter, directly across the street from the park, when she saw a woman in the red car take a kennel crate out of the back seat and leave it in the parking lot.

"She looked really upset and frustrated," said Carrizal. "I saw it while I was driving past. I didn't get her license plate number. At first, I hoped she was just going to let a pet take a bathroom break. But I had a bad feeling."

Carrizal's Facebook video shows her walking up to the carrier.

"It's a dog," she said in the clip.

A shih tzu that she named Angie, estimated at about 10 years old, was later diagnosed with heartworms and a hip problem by a veterinarian. It's possible she had been used for breeding.

A trip to the groomer revealed a whole new dog.

"For the first day, she was really scared of other people," said Carrizal. "She's getting better by the day."

Melrose Park is a well-known dumping ground for dogs, despite its location across the street from the animal shelter. The shelter is located within the city limits of Houston.

"We accept animals found in unincorporated Harris County," said Cory Steel, with the shelter. "Perhaps, people believe if they leave animals in the park, we get them, but we have to call BARC with the City of Houston."

Steel said dogs are sometimes found tethered to the fence at the shelter. Security cameras can detect when that happens. Any images that reveal the person abandoning the animal are turned over to authorities.

Animal abandonment is a crime that carries a fine and the possibility of jail time.

Carrizal is an independent rescuer, who found Three Little Pitties All Breed Rescue to help with Angie's medical needs. Without the group's assistance, Angie's outcome might have been different. Angie is now one of its rescue animals. For information on her case, and to donate, go to Three Little Pitties All Breed Rescue's Facebook page.

Follow Deborah Wrigley on Twitter and Facebook.
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pets-animalsdoganimal rescueHouston
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