TAMPA, Fla. (WFTS) — A neglected senior dog is now on the mend after it was abandoned at Tampa International Airport when the owner didn’t have the right paperwork to bring it on a flight.
Tampa International Airport police chief Charlie Vazquez says he’s never seen anything like it.
"The ticket agent required her to have vaccination papers for the dog as well as the travel fee and when she didn’t have either she told the gate agent she’d make other arrangements," said Vazquez.
But that’s not what happened. Vazquez says she then left the American Airlines ticketing counter, let go of the dog’s leash and just kept on walking.
The chief says surveillance video, that they cannot release due to security reasons, shows the woman discarding the dog and boarding a flight Alabama without him.
"We love animals and to treat an animal like that is really shocking," said Vazquez.
Corinn Smith with VIP Rescue was called and says the elderly dog’s neglect began long before being abandoned.
"He has several sores, he has an ear infection, he was severely matted," said Smith.
Now the dog, whose microchip says he is 14 and named Bama, is on the mend.
Smith says she is adopting Bama to give him the loving life he deserves but she believes the little guy also deserves justice.
"The woman needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, there’s no excuse for this," said Smith.
Chief Vazquez says the state attorney’s office does plan to press charges. He says they have not been able to reach the woman who abandoned the dog but he wants this to be a lesson to people to traveling with pets.
"We recommend before you get to the airport contact the airline and find out what the requirements are whether there are fees, and what kind of paperwork you need for the animal. If you get here and you don’t(have those things), please don’t abandon the animal. Contact somebody and we’ll make arrangements," said Vazquez.