Massachussetts SPCA law enforcement officials are searching for a woman that gave a fake identity before she abandoned a sick dog at an East Bridgewater grooming salon.
On August 23, a woman arrived at The Secret Garden Pet Resort to have her dog groomed. She told the clerk that her name was Melanie Wichester and dropped off her senior, brown and white Bulldog, along with a health certificate stating the dog’s name was William Katz.
Because grooming normally takes a few hours, the woman left a phone number and agreed to come pick up the dog when he was ready.
Groomers quickly noticed William Katz’s cloudy eyes, pressure sores, and patchy fur, but went ahead with bathing and a nail trim as ordered. When he was ready to go home, The Secret Garden called Wichester, but no one answered the phone. As the hours ticked by, it became clear that the woman would not be returning.
The Secret Garden co-owner Lara Cori called East Bridgewater Animal Control to report that he’d been abandoned.
Animal Control, along with East Bridgewater Police discovered that the name given, “Melanie Wichester,” was made up. When they reviewed the groomer’s surveillance footage they saw that she’d walked the dog up the business’ long driveway, so she could not be identified by her license plate.
The dog’s health certificate was signed by Dr. Rebecca Myszha, of the Wisconsin Valley Veterinary Services, in Wausau, Wisconsin. But, when they contacted the vet, they learned the documents were forged, that the bulldog had never been a patient there.
Now, police and the MSPCA are hoping the public can help identify the unknown woman that abandoned the dog. She is described as having long red hair and wearing an eye patch.
Abandoning an animal is a felony in Massachusetts, punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
In addition to abandonment, the dog’s condition suggests he’s been neglected for some time. He will require surgery for advanced ear infections and ongoing treatment for skin sores and corneal ulcers.
Following the mandatory 7-day hold, William will be cared for by the Long Island Bulldog Rescue who will provide medical care and find him a permanent home. Anyone interested in adopting him or donating for his care should contact them directly.
Meanwhile, anyone with information or who recognizes the unknown woman is urged to call the MSPCA’s Law Enforcement line at 1-800-628-5808.