RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– Shelters across central Virginia are experiencing an increase in abandonment cases with animals being ditched and left stranded.

Just in the last week, there have been at least three abandonment cases — some of which are disturbing.

Last week, a dog was left in a crate overnight outside Colonial Heights Animal Services. Staff posted on Facebook on Dec. 29, looking for the owner who left the puppy outside the facility. The puppy was left in a black crate with a blanket on top.

“PLEASE come back and sign the dog over the appropriate way so we don’t have to continue to hold it and look for “an owner.”

Colonial Heights Animal Services

The shelter later posted a video showing the dog, named “Bear,” playing with others.

Christie Chipps Peters is the Director of Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC). According to Peters, they are seeing a major increase in these kinds of cases.

“It’s infuriating and I would say that it’s senseless to us. You know, there’s so many options and so many alternatives that these people have,” Peters said.

On Monday night, a dog was found tied up on Cary Street in Richmond. RACC said the dog, which they named ‘Pinky,’ looked pregnant or like she had just given birth. Diagnostics showed two puppies who were most likely dead, as well as an infection.

“Pinky is one of the ones that is more frightening because her situation was so severe, and she needed emergency intervention,” Peters said.

The messy surgery removed her uterus, which almost ruptured, and a puppy that was stuck in the birth canal. The shelter said it hoped Pinky would be making a full recovery.

Peters told 8News that staff found a different puppy tied to their front door six days ago. Surveillance video taken from RACC shows an African American man in a blue jacket, jeans and flip flops.

The man is seen tying the dog to the front door with a black leash at around 3:10 a.m. on Dec. 28, during which time it was 25 degrees outside.

A sign is clearly posted on the door that says, “Do not leave animals unattended.”

However, Peters said RACC took in 3,100 animals in 2022. Even during a global pandemic, where animals were not able to be raised in socialization, and the current shift in the economy, Peters said the shelter should be your “last resort.”

“You made a commitment to this animal, and we understand life changes and situations change, but you need to have a plan that includes your pet,” Peters said. “If you lose your housing or if your animal becomes sick, there needs to be a backup. We can’t be everyone’s backup.”

Shelters in central Virginia are now calling on pet owners to take more responsibility for their animals.

If you find an animal that has been abandoned, you’re urged to call police or your local shelter. The animal needs to stay in the jurisdiction where it was found.

In 2023, Peters hopes adoption numbers will increase.

Once Pinky is available for adoption, RACC will post her information on its Facebook page. She joins 50 other dogs in the shelter who are looking for a permanent home.

RACC has expanded weekly hours for adoptions. It’s open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.