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The Puddles/Panchito debacle

So you’ve got the mayor in a small Texas town who agrees to take care of her neighbors’ Shih Tzu, while they go to a water park for a long weekend. The dog is very sick from chemical treatments for serious flea infestation, and needs an expensive transfusion the family cannot afford. When the family calls to check in, they learn their dog has died. Only Puddles has not died. The mayor has secreted the pup, now named Panchito, at her twin sister’s ranch, about 12 miles outside of town.

When they get home, Puddles’ family is suspicious. The mayor won’t return their calls. Someone sees Puddles at a groomer. An enterprising TV crew videotapes Panchito at the ranch (which the sisters claim was discovered by another woman and dropped off just before the cameras showed up). At one point, the mayor even pretends to be her sister to avoid questions, but is duped when someone calls out “Ms. Mayor.”

The family wants Puddles back, but due to legal machinations he will remain with the sisters until an April hearing. Meanwhile, the 64-year-old ex-mayor (she resigned earlier this month) has been indicted on felony charges that carry up to 10 years. I can’t tell from The New York Timesfront page story about the case if the family was truly neglecting the dog and the mayor was really trying to save her, but there’s no doubt she was pretty ham-fisted about the whole thing. Still if a dog I thought was deathly ill because of mistreatment by his guardian was placed in my care, I might make some pretty bad—in the eyes of the law—choices myself.

Lisa Wogan

February 13, 2008 in Current Affairs, Humane | Permalink


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