Veterinarians at the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are on the lookout for a disturbing new trend.
They said neglectful and abusive dog owners are often the ones dropping off their sick animals, claiming they found them on the side of the road.
"They create this fictitious story that they found this dog and they bring the dog in here. We've seen it enough times," animal cruelty officer Joe Warzycha said.
Warzycha said a man in his late 60s or 70s dropped off a Rottweiler with a tumor on its back left leg on Wednesday.
"He had a huge cancerous growth about the size of a baseball on his left hind leg, bloody. It's very difficult situation," Dr. E. J. Finocchio of the RISPCA said.
Finocchio said more often than not the owner is the animal's abuser. The man who dropped off the Rottweiler gave the RISCPA a fake address and phone number. If they find him he could face charges.
"As many stories as we've had in the news media, people don't get it. We're going to catch you," Finocchio said.
Finocchio said the man told him he found the dog under the Wampanoag Trail overpass on Warren Road. Finocchio said he doesn't buy it. The Rottweiler's leg was so badly damaged that he leaves a blood trail with every step, but no blood was found on Warren Road.
"At best the dog will lose his leg. If he cannot live without it, the humane thing to do is euthanize him," Finocchio said.
The dog was put down Thursday.
The RISPCA received dozens of calls and Facebook posts from people offering to donate money to keep the Rottweiler alive.