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SAN DIEGO — Security footage captured the heartbreaking moment a dog was abandoned by a man outside of an animal shelter in Rancho Santa Fe on Monday night.

The “dumping” occurred shortly before 8 p.m. when an individual is seen parking his vehicle in a nearby parking lot before leading the dog to the front area of Helen Woodward Animal Center.

According to center, the dog appeared confused after being left unleashed and uncrated with a bed and some toys. The surveillance video shows the dog wandering around the property before disappearing into the night.

Those with the organization say they are “devastated by the heartlessness of the act.” The center is asking for the public’s help in locating the abandoned dog.

“The dog looks to be a brownish color, fluffy, and medium-sized,” explained Center Executive Assistant Laura Smith, who first viewed the security footage. “The gait of the dog makes it look a bit older, possibly a senior but it’s hard to tell. I think the most distressing thing is how much the dog seems to trust the man who is getting ready to abandon it and how stunned it seems as this man drives off leaving it behind. It just breaks my heart.”

According to San Diego law, it’s illegal for any individual to abandon an animal. Ordinance No.  9274, Sec. 62.673 states, “No person shall abandon any domestic animal without care on any public or private property. Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.” 

“We are assuming that the individual may have felt that leaving it near the animal hospital might give it a bit more of a chance of being found,” stated Helen Woodward Animal Services Director Kendall Schulz. “But there isn’t a good way to abandon an animal and leaving it uncrated is cruel and means that the dog was subjected to cars racing down the dark road and being attacked by coyotes that roam the area. The trust and love these animals place in their owners is intense and precious. It’s devastating to know that there are pet-owners who care so little.”

Helen Woodward Animal Center is offering $5,000 to anyone who can help identify the person who abandoned the dog. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the dog or the identity of the person who dumped the animal is asked to contact the Adoptions Department at 858-756-4117 extension 1, visit or stop by at the center at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.

The dog was last seen near the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Station on El Apajo Road on Monday night, according to the center.