SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - The San Luis Obispo County Animal Control has recommended that animal cruelty charges be filed against the owner of a dog who was found with its mouth and eyes taped shut earlier this week.
The black labrador retriever was found Monday night around 9 p.m. on Loma Lane in rural Paso Robles. The dog's eyes and mouth were taped shut when it wandered into a residential yard. The homeowner called 911 and removed the tape before deputies arrived.
Animal services had originally said they did not believe there was any malicious intent by the owner, rather that the owner was attempting to train the dog after it had attacked some chickens.
San Luis Obispo County Animal Services said that a piece of a dead chicken was found in the duct tape wrap.
Eric Anderson, San Luis Obispo County Animal Services manager, described the incident as "a misguided effort to prevent it from attacking the chickens in the future."
Animal Services has sent their recommendation to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office that the owner be charged with animal cruelty. The DA's office will decide whether or not to pursue charges.
"In this case, the owner was attempting to discipline the dog, but not in the appropriate way," said Anderson. "Not in the way that we would say is all right, and one which would cross the line into being abusive behavior."
The dog is currently in possession of SLO County Animal Services. SLO County Animal Services says they have received several calls about adopting the dog.
Hearings will be held to determine if they will keep it permanently or if it will be eventually returned to its owner. That process can take weeks to unfold, Anderson said.
Anderson said this case is a good learning opportunity for the community. He said there will be times when an owner gets frustrated with a pet, "particularly for young puppies just like young kids, that's something that happens from time to time."
He said if you are struggling with managing a pet, it's best to contact a veterinarian or a professional trainer.