By Lauren Ventura | SDUN Editor
On the evening of Nov. 19 a four-week old Labrador-mix puppy was discovered in a dumpster with his ears mutilated near the Target superstore in Mission Valley on Camino Del Rio. A good samaritan discovered the puppy and called the Department of Animal Services immediately. The department spokesperson, Dan DeSousa, named the puppy “Sunny” due to his resemblance to the Sun Bear, a bear indigenous to Southeast Asia, and for his upbeat disposition. Sunny has survived his ordeal and is now successfully recovering from surgery to repair his damaged, and now completely missing, ears.
Recently, Uptown News caught up with Sunny and his foster mom, Candace Shumann, at Hillcrest’s Richard Joseph Salon at 1717 University Ave., while she was getting a hair cut to see how the victim was faring after his ordeal.
Shumann, who is the cofounder of the Spay Neuter Action Project (SNAP), has been fostering the puppy for several weeks, and said Sunny is adjusting surprisingly well considering what happened to him.
“The only time he really cries is when you pick him up for too long—he wants to get down and play,” Shumann said with a laugh.
Shumann explained that Sunny’s situation was probably due to the issue of a dog owner refusing to spay and neuter their pet and then giving up the ensuing litter to unfit homes.
“It’s a lot about ignorance and a lack of resources,” she said. “Especially now with the faltering economy, a lot of people are just not spaying or neutering.”
Shumann started SNAP in 1991 after volunteering in a local animal control shelter and seeing how many dogs were euthanized on a daily basis. Shocked by the sheer number, Shumann set out to help “fix” the problem by forming the SNAP non-profit to offer low-income animal owners cheap, and sometimes free, spay and neuter services. The “Neuter Scooter” visits areas in and around San Diego County that receive the highest Animal Control service calls.
In addition, SNAP is an advocacy group for animals, like Sunny, who are residents of the County Animal Shelters.
As for why someone would try to cut off the puppy’s ears, Shumann expressed that no one will ever know why.
“I fostered a dog once that someone slit it’s throat from ear-to-ear; I had another one that someone had put a rubber band around the dog’s muzzle and the infection was so bad we had to remove the lower jaw due to lack of circulation,” Shumann said. “Each time they come to me, people ask ‘Why would someone do that?’ and I just tell them there is no answer—someone was just being cruel.”
If you have any information on who hurt Sunny, please call Animal Control at (619) 236-2341. A $4,500 reward is being offered by the San Diego Animal Advocates for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the abuse.
“Whoever did this malicious act needs to be brought to justice,” said Dawn Danielson, director of the Department of Animal Services, in a recent statement.
If a suspect is identified, they could face a felony animal abuse charges, which could include prison time and fines. Sunny will be up for adoption soon, and updates on his progress can be found on the department’s website, sddac.com.
For more information on SNAP, visit snap-sandiego.com.