The discovery of a dead puppy left abandoned behind a Killeen business outraged Michelle Cusenza, who has since used social media to promote organizations that could have saved the dog’s life.

Cusenza found the dog Sept. 14 after seeing a post on Facebook that showed a picture of a puppy lying on the ground behind a shopping center in the 4100 block of South Clear Creek Road.

The dog had been left tied to a dumpster with food, water and a makeshift bed. But most likely the heat killed the animal before Cusenza was able to track it down. When she arrived at the location, she said the dog was dead.

“I just don’t understand why someone would do that, it was a secluded place,” Cusenza said.

Killeen Animal Control Supervisor Stacie Sherva said the animal would still be alive if its owner had contacted the shelter. Animals are abandoned for a number of reasons, including the cost of food.

The shelter charges $30 to take in an animal from a pet owner. However, if the owner is indigent, other arrangements can be made.

“People need to understand that if they can’t afford it, they still need to at least make contact and see if someone can help,” Sherva said. “There’s almost always a solution.”

Paws in Paradise Pet Crematory picked up the dog at no cost and had it cremated. Cusenza said staff there believe the animal had only been dead a few hours.

It looked healthy. The dog was not malnourished and was in good shape. It caused some anguish in Cusenza, because it appears she arrived just a little too late.

“Please contact a rescue,” Cusenza said. “They will work with you. They will do anything to save that dog.”

Abandoning an animal in such a way can be a criminal matter, with criminal charges ranging from misdemeanor to felony depending on the extent of the abuse, Sherva said. She could not comment on whether an investigation of the incident is ongoing.

Contact Philip Jankowski at or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.

(5) comments

Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er

This is just heart breaking to hear. As pet owner, I just don't understand anyone abandoning a pet like that. Take it to the shelter and say it was found. I would rather see an animal euthanized than left for dead.

The dog was found behind a shopping center in the 4100 block of South Clear Creek Road. Isn't Second Chance in the same area?

Who ever posted this on Facebook should be charged...they either did this or by posting knew about this and where the dog was. The police should be able to find out.

Maybe this dog was stolen for retaliation for some reason.

Bless The Beast And The Children For They Have NO Voice...They Have NO Choice.


I would like to just correct the puppy was found with NO food or water. Thank you for publishing this story and making the community aware of options available for animals needing a place to go!

Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er

Isn't there an Editor at the KDH...


Thanks to Michelle Cusenza to work so diligently to bring this tragedy in the public's eye and to make sure that people know of the solutions available to the public.
There are a lot of other ways to try and find an unwanted animal a new home.

Use social media! Tell your friends, and tell their friends ... there is usually someone who knows someone who knows someone who can help find a solution. It may not work in one day, but it usually does work.

Mamma Griz

[angry] I hope they are able to find whoever did this and prosecute them for animal cruelty. There was NO NEED for that. Maybe they-- the whole fam damily-- should be taken out and tied to a dumpster behind a business. Maybe the same dumpster to which they tied the dog.

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