Shelter, realtor rescue pregnant dog as pet abandonments surge

Two dogs found abandoned at a home that had just sold in the Galveston area were rescued in the nick of time. The female gave birth to seven puppies just hours later.

Shelters say thousands of pets in the greater Houston area have been abandoned this year.

If you’re thinking about getting a pet for the holidays, shelters have a word of caution.  

After so many people adopted pets during the pandemic, shelters say there is a surge of abandoned pets this year, sometimes from owners who were evicted or had to sell their homes.


Meet Cyan, and her seven puppies.

"We have Greenbean, Sweet Potato and Autumn and Turkey.  All sorts of Thanksgiving fun," said Kathryn Ketchum, Interim Director of Bayou Animal Services in Santa Fe.

And there's dad, Cobalt.  

"He’s totally housebroken. He loves to play with his toys, he loves to give kisses," said Ketchum.

But these puppies had a precarious start. Bayou Animal Services and virtual homeselling platform Opendoor say Cyan and Cobalt were found after being abandoned for a couple of days at a home that had recently sold in the Galveston area.

"We didn’t know when the last time was they had food or water," said Ketchum.


They worked to rescue the dogs. Just hours later, "She delivered seven healthy puppies and we were able to save nine lives that day," said Opendoor Market Manager Drew Kays.

It's a familiar sight at shelters this year. The Houston SPCA says 4,700 pets have been abandoned. Harris County Public Health says its shelter is nearly full of many pets abandoned by owners, showing us photos of an abandoned dog named Pink.

TaBorah Goffney, Director of Missouri City Animal Services, said, "Now that they’re going back to work and school, they don’t have the means to care for these animals in an appropriate fashion."

Shelters say owners forced to move after an eviction, home sale or foreclosure, sometimes leave pets behind.

"It’s really bad for the animal because people assume the property is vacant, and they don’t come for days and sometimes months until they go to assess the home," explained Goffney.

Kays says Opendoor donated $500 to care for the puppies, and urges anyone who can't care for a pet to reach out for help.  

"You can call a local shelter, you can call animal control, and they’ll take your pets off your hands for you," said Kays.  


Ketchum says Cyan and Cobalt's owner may face charges, while the puppies and their parents will be available for new, hopefully, permanent homes, around Christmastime.

Experts say if you're thinking of getting a pet, consider whether you will return to work and whether you can care for the pet for many years.  

Abandoned pets can be reported to the Houston SPCA at (713) 869-SPCA or at

Harris County Animal Services can be reached at (281) 999-3191 or Harris County Pets.