The Nassau County SPCA is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction of those who abandoned two dogs without food and water at a Hempstead Village house where authorities said squatters had illegally hooked up the electricity.
The dogs were rescued Friday afternoon from an abandoned property on Alabama Avenue -- an underweight, pit bull puppy was found inside among trash, while a bulldog was discovered chained to an outside deck, said prosecutor Jed Painter, head of the Nassau District Attorney's animal crimes unit.
The bulldog was so thirsty it couldn't stop drinking and had to be pulled from the water after 10 minutes so it wouldn't get sick from gulping too much too fast, authorities said.
The puppy was surrounded by its own filth, Painter said.
"Transient squatters probably left the dogs," the prosecutor said. "The investigation is ongoing. We might not ever figure out who, but we're looking for tips."
The rescue came from a call shortly before 3:45 p.m. to the animal crimes unit, the first tip of the year, Painter said. Less than an hour later, he said, the dogs were wagging their tails at the sight of village police, Hempstead Town building officials, detectives from the district attorney's office and employees from the town animal shelter.
The tipster said the dogs had been alone for at least three days, Painter said, and he lauded the person for being the eyes and voice of the dogs.
"We always like it when the community's vigilance works," the prosecutor said. "It encourages more and more people to see something and say something."
Shelter director Mike Pastore said the bulldog, a black and white male about 5 years old, and the fawn-colored puppy, a female about 6 months old, will be evaluated for their temperament and health before any decisions on their adoptability. If all goes well, they can meet prospective adopters in a week, he said.
The two were neglected, but there were no obvious signs of abuse, he said.
So far, one thing was clear. When Pastore took them out for a photo op -- these canines are no wallflowers.
"They're wiggly," Pastore said. "They're jumping up to get a little love and attention. My whole shirt smells like dog right now."
The animal crimes unit was started in 2010, and Painter said at least 300 tips came in last year.
The tips hotline is 516-571-7755. The Nassau SPCA can be reached at 516-THE-SPCA.