Two dogs were found dead Monday morning after being tied to the gate at the entrance to the Humane Society of St. Thomas and abandoned, killed during the night by a pack of wild dogs in the area.

Two “juvenile” dogs, approximately a year old, were tied to the gate sometime between Sunday night at 6 p.m. when a Humane Society employee left the building and 6:30 a.m. Monday morning. Both pups were found after a wet night, mauled to death. One of the two was unable to break free of the leash and harness it had on when it was attacked and died at the gate. The other managed to get free, but was found dead in the driveway.

The Humane Society has been trying to catch these wild dogs for more than a year. According to Shelter Manager Rhea Vasconcellos, the pack of three to four dogs has decimated the cat colony that live on the premises.

“Dellia Holodenschi [President of the Board] has hired guards to be up here with me three or four times to see if we could try to catch them with traps and make sure the cats don’t get in the traps, but no luck so far. This week, there was a chicken mutilated and left on our steps and there were two cats that looked like they did tug of war with them,” said Vasconcellos. “Even if the leashes were longer, those dogs wouldn’t have been able to get away from them. You’ve had the dog for six or seven months. You can’t keep it overnight one more night?”

There are employees in the building seven days a week to take in unwanted pets. Director Annette Zachman pleads with the community bring the animals to the shelter rather than abandoning them at the gate.

“Surrender them when we are open,” she said. “People just need to do the right thing and stop tying them to the gate or dumping them off.”

The problem exacerbates an even bigger challenge at the Humane Society: overpopulation. The shelter was built to house 40 dogs and 70 cats. The shelter is currently housing more than 250 animals.

“It’s a tragedy because they don’t realize when they bring them into the shelter, there’s only so many you can take in and there’s only so many we can adopt out,” said Holodenschi. “The community needs to know we’re doing the best we can, but the best thing they can do is make sure that their animals are not multiplying.”

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