Erin Ryder was driving near Long Beach on the 405N when she spotted a pick-up truck transporting a dog tied up in the back with its mouth taped shut. She was horrified by what she saw and immediately jumped into action. Following the truck off the nearest exit, honking and waving at him to pull over. The man, Joaquin Cruz, obliged and pulled his truck to the side of the road. He informed Erin, in very broken English, that he was returning from taking his dog, Ringo, to the vet and only tapped the dog’s mouth shut so that he wouldn’t chew out of the ropes. Joaquin also revealed that Ringo was suffering from cancer in his foot.
Erin was able to convince him to remove the tape from Ringo’s muzzle, but he would not turn the dog over to her. She offered money as well, but he said no. Erin did call the police, but unfortunately, it’s illegal to transport dogs tied up in the back of trucks here in California. They did however say they would check on the dog.
Erin posted the whole event on social media, which was shared by many of her celebrity friends, Kristen Doute of Vanderpump Rules being one of the most vocal. WUFAW was alerted to situation immediately through a mutual friend and we stepped in to offer advice and any help we could give.
Our first call was to Judie Mancuso of Social Compassion in Legislation because she’s well connected in the area. She gave us the number to the head of Animal Control in Long Beach, Staycee Dains, who we left a message for while we worked on a plan to save Ringo.
Thankfully Erin had taken a photo of a vet invoice that Joaquin showed her, with his address and phone number on it. In our past experience, sometimes it’s best to go right to the source and offer assistance, versus waiting for Animal Control or the police to do their job. So, we personally called the owner, Joaquin, and spoke (in Spanish) to him about releasing Ringo over to WUFAW.
When speaking to him in his native language it became very apparent that he was a nice man and didn’t think he had done anything to harm the dog. He told us that Ringo had a sister named Barbie and that they were outside “guard dogs” who lived at his place of business. Clearly this was a case of cultural differences and a lack of education about animal welfare. He agreed to give up Ringo but wanted to keep Barbie.
Early Wednesday morning, Erin headed to Long Beach to pick up Ringo, but when she arrived, Animal Control (LBAC) was already there seizing both Ringo and Barbie from the property. That was not the outcome we were hoping for because often times dogs taken in as “evidence” can end up stuck in the shelter for weeks.
Live Love Animal Rescue (LLAR), a local group with a strong relationship with LBAC, was able to secure the release of both dogs into their care the following day.
Once in their possession, LLAR took them to the vet and sadly, the prognosis on Ringo’s cancer was bad. He was riddled with tumors throughout his body and was basically now on hospice care. Barbie was much healthier, only having a bad limp from arthritis. They are in foster care now and had their first night sleeping in a nice cushy bed with a heater. They are both receiving tons of love and will remain together until Ringo passes. We pray Barbie will have several more good years.