AMARILLO, TX - Some pet owners have been abandoning their animals on the side of busy roadways in Amarillo.
The number of pets "dumped" on the road is a little higher during the holidays.
When people go out of town or move away, instead of finding a new home for their pets, they leave them to fend for themselves.
Several citizens have recently reported seeing animals abandoned on busy highways.
"Dumping" an animal like this is a Class A Misdemeanor, and violators can be charged with a fine up to $4,000.
Karen Richardson, a volunteer with the Amarillo S.P.C.A., said she continues to see more and more animals brought in by people who find them wandering busy roads.
On Wednesday, two abandoned dogs were brought to the shelter within an hour.
"We have just taken in a small dog whose owners packed up their stuff and left the dog and now we don't know where they are," said Richardson. "A neighbor brought the dog in."
A larger dog was brought in by someone who found it on the highway.
This dog was so thin you could feel its ribs, and it ate any food it could find in the shelter.
The A.S.P.C.A. takes in as many animals as it can, but no-kill animal shelters fill up fast and they struggle to find room for all the animals that need it.
Although the cats and dogs at the shelters need homes, Richardson does not advise giving them as Christmas presents unless the new owner is aware and fully on board.
She said many people do not realize that a pet is a long term commitment, and should not be a spur-of-the-moment decision.
If you ever witness someone intentionally abandoning their pets, report the incident to the police.