Animal shelter responds to criticisms involving puppy tied to railroad tracks

Riverside County shelter reps say man who abandoned Banjo the puppy needs help, not jail time

Jeff Stahl, KESQ News Channel 3 Morning News Anchor, jstahl@kesq.com
POSTED: 12:16 PM PDT Apr 15, 2013    UPDATED: 08:00 AM PDT Apr 11, 2013 
MECCA, Calif. -

The Riverside County Department of Animal Services said Wednesday an overwhelming show of public support for an abandoned dog crashed it's website.

A statement from the organization said the official county website,  http://www.rcdas.org, was receiving hits 150 times its normal average usage causing an error message to appear for many users saying the site was temporarily down for maintenance.

The website had received links from several regional and national news outlets including the Daily Beast and Yahoo sharing stories about Banjo, a 10-month-old poodle-terrier mix.

The shelter also defended the decision not to seek criminal animal-cruelty charges against the 78-year-old man, believed to have tied the young animal to train tracks to be left to die.

A train's engineer used emergency brakes to avoid killing the dog.  

The shelter statement said a Union Pacific Special Agent determined the suspect appeared to be senile and possibly suffering from Alzheimer's disease or dementia. 

"The man spoke gibberish," according to the statement.  "The special agent was going to be in touch with adult protective services to make sure that the man's family was going to be held accountable."

The shelter statement said, "We believe that people in need should also receive the care and attention that they need from their loved ones."

Banjo is currently being fostered by a veterinary technician who takes the young dog home each night to work on his shyness and to keep the dog familiar with other people and other animals.  Banjo reportedly loves her other dogs.

The shelter said it's still in the process of collecting information from those interested in adopting Banjo, and hopes to nail down a list of the Top 10 finalists by sometime this week.  It would then announce the adoption by early next week.

Anyone interested in adopting him must go through a special application process, and should email shelterinfo@rivcocha.org about why their family would be best for Banjo.