Syda Khaleck was about to toss some trash into a Dumpster at Santa Rosa Junior College when he heard an unlikely sound.
“He heard little whining noises,” said co-worker Cheryl Sherwood. “He looked, and there was the puppy.”
The tiny Chihuahua was whimpering in pain, with two broken legs.
Khaleck, a groundskeeper at SRJC, scooped the Chihuahua out and called Sherwood, who was working nearby. Khaleck placed the puppy on a towel in his truck and told his fellow groundskeeper the dog’s front legs weren’t working.
“While she was trying to move them, to position herself, she would start to cry,” Sherwood said. “We could tell they were broken because they were just hanging from the first knuckle.”
The puppy — her exact age is unknown — was discovered the morning of Oct. 27 not far from the greenhouse at Lark Hall and the Bech parking lot.
Both front legs were fractured, said veterinarian Dan Famini, who directs the SRJC veterinary technician program. It was impossible to tell from examining the injuries whether they had been inflicted on purpose or not, said Famini, who is also a contract veterinarian at Sonoma County Animal Services.
Santa Rosa Junior College police are assisting the animal services agency in the investigation.
“At this point, we really don’t have a heck of a lot to go on,” said SRJC Police Lt. Robert Brownlee. “We’re really relying on the tip line.”
He said it’s likely that the dog was discarded the day it was found.
“It’s a pretty small animal, and Chihuahuas get cold pretty fast so I would think it happened that morning — maybe early morning,” he said.
Sherwood and a writer for the Santa Rosa Junior College Oak Leaf, which first reported the story, returned to the Dumpster several days after the discovery to see “if there was anything that could clue us in to who did it,” she said.
They found credit card receipts with partial numbers and turned them in, Sherwood said. But Brownlee said they were too distant from the event to be helpful.
These days the puppy is well-washed, wearing two pink casts and standing on all four legs, Famini said.
“She is doing fine,” he said. “Now that she has her splints on, she is doing fine and can move around.”
Sherwood is trying to take a charitable view of what happened.
“The only thing that I have come up with is maybe the dog is so small, and little dogs like that sometimes get stepped on or run over because people can’t see them,” she said.
“So my only speculation is that maybe this dog got hurt and this person couldn’t afford to take it to a vet, and didn’t know what else to do. Maybe they were stressed about it, weren’t thinking clearly.”
Authorities are asking anyone who may have information about the case to call Sonoma County Animal Services Officer Justin Foster at 707-565-7100.
Staff Writer Jeremy Hay blogs about education at extracredit.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach him at 521-5212 or email@example.com. On Twitter @jeremyhay