I need help pretty desperately.
On Saturday, two weeks to the day our Tinky girl died, we found a stray in the yard. I called him over and he was just the sweetest thing. No tags, but a collar that was 2 inches wide with a ratted cord that had apparently been used as a tether at some point in time on him. Honestly, we thought he was a stray who must have been wandering for a long time due to the look/tightness of the collar (he has a callous built up where it rubbed him raw) and the faded end of the tie that was dangling.
We took him inside, gave him a bath to see if he had a tattoo marking (he was filthy). No tags, no marking. Ok, someone will put up signs looking for him. No signs up in the neighborhood that day or Sunday. We named him Rocky since he perked up when we were tossing out names for him and we said that one.
So, we decided that maybe this was God's way of telling us he took Tink because he was giving us someone new who needed a loving home. We took him to the vet Monday night and got him checked out. No parvo, thank goodness. But he does have whipworms, hookworms and heartworms; in addition to being extremely underweight (probably due to the worms) and a pretty raw spot on his tail that the vet shaved and cleaned. No microchip.
After much soul searching on Monday, we decided to keep him. Still no signs up in the neighborhood. We clipped his way long nails and bought him a new collar and leash to display his new tags (rabies and such proof) from the vet.
Tuesday my DD was walking him when a friend of hers, K, came up to her.
K - Hey, that looks like Rocky!
DD - <confused look> We named him Rocky on Saturday, what do you mean he looks like Rocky?
K - The folks over in that house have a dog that looks just like that, named Rocky.
DD - <dawning horror> Is he still there?
K went over and verified that the dog is no longer in the pen in the backyard they kept him in, 2 streets over from ours.
K - Hey, don't sweat it, I won't tell you've got him. They never treated that dog right anyway. He was always out there, whether it was snowing or hot or raining. Y'all will take care of him.
Cue my daughter calling me in a panic.
I've called the SPCA and Animal Control. They have given me several scenarios:
1.) Go and talk to them. See if they will let you keep the dog. Maybe offer to pay them some money for him to sweeten the deal. The problems with doing that are:
a.) If they choose not to sell / give us the dog, we have no choice but to return him to a horrid home where he will likely be put outside and left to die.
b.) Animal control did say that they would be able to compel them to take him to a vet for the hookworms and whipworms, but not the heartworms. So, at least we could make them take him to a vet at least once. The only problem there, is they would likely be as much predisposed to putting him down as treating him.
2.) Just keep him and hope they don't come asking about him (my least favorite of all options, but has to be said).
3.) Take him to the SPCA as a stray and then put a deposit down to officially adopt him from the pound. We would literally pay the deposit at the same time we take him in. This solution was also recommended by Animal Control, in case we didn't feel we could talk to the owners period.
Now, I'm the type of person who doesn't mind talking to anyone. However, if the house is the one I'm thinking, these people are not the nicest folks in the world. I'm torn on what to do. Number 3 doesn't seem morally right to me, but it does seem to be the one that will make everything nice and official without having to worry over going to their house and saying hey, I want your dog.
What would you do?