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Abandoned, Emaciated Dog Found in Puna Slowly Recovering

By Tiffany DeMasters
December 29, 2021, 4:00 PM HST
* Updated December 29, 1:53 PM
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A young, emaciated dog is recovering after he was found in the rain, tied to a metal post on Christmas morning in lower Puna.

Courtesy of Hawaiʻi Police Department

Nicknamed Rudy, the male canine has been in the care of Hawaiʻi Police Department’s Animal Control officers in Kona and undergoing fluid therapy, receiving antibiotics and intestinal parasite treatment. The 1- to 2-year-old dog was being fed through a syringe until a little over 24 hours ago when he started to eat on his own, said Regina Serrano, HPD Animal Control Director.

Rudy has gained three pounds since his rescue on Dec. 25 when animal control officers recorded its weight at 25.5 pounds. Serrano said Rudy should weigh at least 40-plus pounds.

“Other than just general neglect of care, he’s dealing with an Ehrlichia infection,” Serrano said. “He has a lot of hair loss and skin issues from flea infestation.”

Part of dealing with the Ehrlichia infection, Serrano added, is the dog has been having respiratory issues. While he’s still congested, she said he gets stronger every day.

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“It goes to show what proper care and a lot of general medical attention can do,” Serrano said. “We expect him to make a full recovery.”

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Rudy is being closely monitored by animal control staff. Serrano has been taking Rudy home at night to ensure he gets continued care.

“He’s a very sweet, mellow guy. He’s a very loving dog,” Serrano said. “He’s just started getting the strength to walk around a little bit.”

Rudy will remain in the care of HPD’s animal control for now. Serrano said the police department has already received emails from individuals interested in fostering Rudy or giving him a forever home. When he’s ready, she said the department will work with one of their partners on where to move Rudy next as HPD Animal Control doesn’t do dog adoptions.

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Unfortunately, Serrano said Rudy isn’t an anomaly in his condition, as animal control has rescued five dogs alone in December, all emaciated and suffering from neglect. However, Serrano said Rudy is by far the worst case they have seen this month.

“These dogs are severely underweight and require medical help to get them to a healthy weight,” Serrano said.

Serrano said she has opened two animal cruelty investigations from rescues made this month.

Animal control was alerted to Rudy after someone call police dispatch. Serrano said that is the best way to report an animal in distress.

Police ask anyone with information about this case to call HPD non-emergency line at 808-935-3311.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.
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