A malnourished dog that recently had puppies was abandoned and tied to a shopping cart at the Walmart in Commack, the Suffolk County SPCA said Wednesday in offering a $2,000 reward to find the owner.
The gray pit bull, found Monday, was lactating and may have given birth eight to 10 weeks ago, so investigators are concerned her puppies may need her, said Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The dog was found about 8 a.m. Monday after a truck driver making deliveries to Walmart saw a man with a dog on a leash push a cart toward the back of the delivery area, then go into the store by himself.
Store surveillance cameras caught the man coming out of Walmart with dog food and a doghouse, which he placed into a silver sedan, Gross said.
Then he walked into a nearby Home Depot, having either changed his striped, polo-type shirt or taken off his outer shirt because it was hot, the SPCA chief said. He came out with cables and other supplies that can be used to make a dog run, he said.
The veterinarian believes the abandoned dog has had several litters, despite her young age, about 11/2 years old, Gross said.
"We feel he used this dog, and it was used up and he discarded it, like an old car," Gross said.
The dog is sweet and friendly but has a skin infection because she is malnourished, the SPCA head said. She was taken to a veterinarian by the trucker's wife and is now in a foster home, he said.
In the store surveillance footage, the dog's owner appears to have a tattoo on the right side of his neck and right arm, Gross said.
Anyone with information may call the SPCA at 631-382-7722. All calls will be kept confidential.