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Hillsborough police find owner of dogs left in freezing dog park

Hillsborough Police officers found this dog locked inside the dog park fence at Gold Park on Sunday night. The dog was one of two dogs in the park that did not have collars or a microchip with the owner’s information.
Hillsborough Police officers found this dog locked inside the dog park fence at Gold Park on Sunday night. The dog was one of two dogs in the park that did not have collars or a microchip with the owner’s information. Contributed

Who locked the dogs out?

And why?

A day after police rescued two shaggy, white dogs from a freezing park, Hillsborough police said they had found the animals’ owner.

Police declined to release additional information, citing confidentiality. “We appreciate everyone’s concern for the owner and animals,” the department said on its Facebook page.

The mystery began Sunday night. Officers had stopped to lock the gate at Gold Park on Dimmocks Mill Road when they heard barking, Lt. Andy Simmons said. They found the dogs locked behind the park’s dog park fence.

Neither had a microchip or a collar, he said, but both were friendly and healthy, despite temperatures that dipped into the 20s. A K-9 officer checked them out and said their teeth were fine and nails were trimmed, Simmons said.

“Usually, if somebody is going to abandon a dog, they do it on the side of the road somewhere,” Simmons said Monday afternoon, before the department’s update. “For them to be locked in the dog park, maybe they wanted them to be safe, but at the same time, there was nobody around. And it was really cold on top of that.”

Hillsborough lost dogs.jpg
Hillsborough Police officers found these lost dogs in the dog park at Gold Park on Sunday night near downtown Hillsborough. The dogs, whose owners have not been found, were taken to Orange County Animal Services for safekeeping. Hillsborough Police Department Contributed

As of late Monday afternoon, police still didn’t know why the dogs were there or how they got there, Simmons said.

The thought of someone possibly abandoning two dogs in the freezing park angered and concerned many of the department’s Facebook followers Monday.

Several had stern words for owners who would leave dogs outside on a frigid night. Some offered to adopt the dogs, and a handful remembered seeing the dogs at the park before but couldn’t recall the owners.

Orange County Animal Services picked up the dogs and planned to hold them for five days. It was unclear from the police announcement whether they would remain with their owner.

“I’ve had thousands of people ask me now if they can adopt them,” Simmons said Monday afternoon as police continued their investigation. “What I want to say is if you go to Orange County Animal Services any day of the week, you can adopt as many dogs as you want.”



Grubb: 919-829-8926; @TammyGrubb
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