About a week after little River, a honey-colored terrier mix, was rescued by Gilroyan Hector Beltran from Uvas Creek after a brick was tied to its hind legs and it nearly drowned – more than 45 people have called the Humane Society hoping to adopt the gentle dog.
For now, River (named by Beltran) is at a foster home in Gilroy waiting to be spayed and tested for any injuries or other medical conditions before she is adopted out by the Humane Society, which will find suitable owners. The vetting process for her new owner is under way, said Scott Borgioli, the president of the Humane Society of the Central Coast.
Of the 45 interested parties, most are in the Gilroy area, although several are from areas outside South County, and even outside California. Borgioli said the Humane Society is looking at all those who have expressed interest, including those outside the Gilroy area.
“Because of River being on the news, we want to be cautious about whoever takes him locally. We want to make sure we know what the intent is – is it for the dog or for the publicity?” Borgioli said.
The protocol for the Humane Society is to conduct a home check and an interview of the potential dog owners, then the organization will make a decision, he said.
“She’s very tame. All she wants to do is sit in someone’s lap. She’s perfect for an elderly person,” he said.
Beltran was with his kids playing near the water in Christmas Hill Park on Miller Avenue last week when they spotted the about 2-year-old dog with her head barely above the water. Beltran said he grabbed her out of the creek to find a brick tied to a rope around her legs. He said her hair was matted and she was weak. He had her checked out at a local veterinarian and gave her a haircut. She did not wear a collar with ID tags nor is she micro-chipped. Beltran said he can’t adopt River right now because he has other dogs he must care for.
Since then, the Humane Society stepped in to provide River with medical evaluations, and launched an investigation to find the person who left her in the river. The Humane Society is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest of the suspect. Based on leads already received, Borgioli said the Humane Society is looking in the neighborhoods surrounding Christmas Hill Park for the suspect.
“Hector Beltran is the hero and we’re just trying to help out as a Humane Society the way we are supposed to,” he said.
Borgioli believes River is a Yorkshire terrier mix perhaps with Maltese. He said the veterinarian who examined her estimated she’s between 2- and 6-years-old.
“There’s such a long list (of people who want to adopt River). Bless everybody’s hearts. We quickly will narrow down the list. Not to say everyone who’s interested isn’t suitable,” Borgioli said.
He added that he sees this as a good opportunity to bring the community together and take a stance against animal cruelty.
The story of River, though different, is still reminiscent of another shocking case of animal cruelty when local patrons witnessed a pit bull fatally attack a dachshund and injure its owner on July 22 outside the Starbucks on First Street. The pit bull’s owner fled the scene and at last check last week with Gilroy Police, has not been located or cited. GPD did file charges with the District Attorney’s Office.
“Gilroy is not an animal cruel city. These unfortunate circumstances happen everywhere. It’s a sign of the times,” he said.
Borgioli said the incident at Starbucks has made a lot of people uneasy.
“Let’s start getting a list of volunteers together to make Gilroy and the surrounding area a great place for animals,” Borgioli said.
To volunteer with the Humane Society, call 24 hours a day at 855-2Humane (486263.)
To adopt an animal in South County, go to the San Martin Animal Shelter at 12370 Murphy Ave. in San Martin, or call 408-686-3900.