Four of the five puppies found abandoned in a trash can at Highland Heritage Park in May are recovering well in foster care and just weeks from adoption.
The two male and two female shih tzu mixes that were still alive when found at the Highlands Ranch park are quickly coming into their own at Douglas County Animal Control Officer Caitlyn Cahill’s Bennett horse ranch.
Cahill, who wasn’t working when the puppies were discovered May 21, brought them home a few days later after her mother offered to help nurse them to health.
After weeks of being syringe-fed every three hours around the clock, the dogs graduated to warmed-up, crushed dog food and milk this past week and just recently began drinking their water from a bowl. In addition, they have had quite the role model in Cahill’s 5-year-old Australian shepherd, Keyna.
“She never had a litter of pups, but she has naturally taken to them,” Cahill said of Kenya and the puppies. “We’ve noticed in the past that she has some really good mothering instincts with the horses and the cats. She really took a liking to them.”
The puppies, which were estimated to be between three and seven days old when they were found, are each beginning to show off their individual personalities, Cahill said.
There’s Gus Gus, the go-getter of the group, who has been the first to do everything and consistently underfoot. There’s Brutus, the cuddly runt of the litter. There’s Lilo, the loner. And there’s Bridgett, the playful one of the bunch, who likes to wrestle.
Douglas County law enforcement is still asking for help in finding those who are responsible for abandoning the puppies, and Sgt. Erica Dalton said the perpetrator would likely be charged with felony aggravated cruelty of animals.
“We have had a couple leads, but they have been dead ends,” Dalton said. “This is definitely still an open investigation. One of the puppies died a needless death.”
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for any information leading to an arrest, and the reporting person can remain anonymous if they desire. If someone has information, they can contact Douglas County Animal Law Enforcement at 303-660-7529 or contact Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 (STOP).
Cahill said the department hopes to be able to use this “unfortunate incident to educate pet owners and prevent something like this from happening again.”
“There are so many opportunities available for people who don’t want to have a litter of puppies or don’t want to keep the dogs for one reason or another,” she said. “Neutering and spaying are always a great option, and you can always take unwanted animals to a shelter. We have a long list of resources we can provide if people don’t know where to turn, too.”