Man charged with abandoning terrier twice in two days, once on Lloyd's Beach, then in Mystic, Conn.
April 22, 2021 By Bruce Burdett Sakonnet Times
Cosmo poses for a photo at West Place Animal Sanctuary after being found on Lloyd's Beach in Little Compton.
A Fall River man went to great lengths –- twice in two states in as many days –- to abandon his elderly Jack Russell terrier, say Little Compton Police who have charged Corey Souza of Fall River with animal abandonment.
Officers first encountered Cosmo (the terrier's name) Saturday, April 8, when he was discovered running loose on Lloyd's Beach. The incident headlines last week's brief Sakonnet Times police report -– "Dog nabbed for beach run."
The dog was captured and taken to West Place Animal Sanctuary in Tiverton where Little Compton and Tiverton customarily take stray pets to await their owners.
"He was a sweet visitor," said Wendy Taylor, executive director of the sanctuary. "He had a good appetite, was not aggressive, a little shy, quite nervous."
He was wearing a collar but had no ID tags, so Cosmo posed for a photo which West Place posted on Facebook (the posting would get over 16,000 views, and 500-plus shares.)
A day later the owner's sister called, Ms. Taylor said, and was advised that Corey Souza must first go to the Little Compton Police station for release paperwork, a routine step that Mr. Souza was apparently reluctant to perform. Later, the owner's father was allowed by police to pick up Cosmo without stopping at the station if he promised to care for the dog.
Cosmo clearly recognized the man who came to get him -- "He was excited, a much different dog when he recognized a family member," Ms. Taylor said.
She said that she was relieved that the mystery had been solved -- another happy ending. She added that they have taken in dozens of dogs found on Little Compton and Tiverton beaches over the years -- "Nice day, people take their dog down for a walk on the beach, the dog gets loose . . . It happens a lot."
Her relief was short-lived.
Police say that Cosmo had been home for less than a day when, without his father's knowledge, owner Corey Souza loaded him into the car and set out once again -- this time to Mystic, Connecticut.
Adam Dolliver was on Route 27, close to Mystic Maritime Museum, when he saw a small dog running down the middle of the road, dodging traffic.
He and others managed to grab the frightened Jack Russell terrier after a considerable chase. He took the dog, which he said was limping and dirty, and delivered him to Stonington, Conn., police.
And in hopes of finding the owner, he, too, went to Facebook and posted a photo. He also did some internet searching and found West Place’s posting.
The dog looked so similar that he sent Ms. Taylor a message.
"I knew it was Cosmo," she said. Facial markings were identical and she said she found a half dozen distinct features that were the same.
Also spotting the exchange of messages was Massachusetts-based Jacks Galore Jack Russell Terrier Rescue. The organization made arrangements with Stonington Police to pick Cosmo up and hold him in foster care until a new owner can be found.
That should not prove difficult, despite the dog's age, Ms. Taylor said over the weekend. There have already been many adoption offers from readers of the Facebook posts.
She added that she's happy to see that "Cosmo will live out his remaining years happily with people who love and appreciate him."
What he told police
Little Compton Police, who by now knew the owner's identification, invited him to the station for a chat.
According to the police report, he told his interviewer that he had indeed "purposely" abandoned the dog at Sakonnet Point. He said the dog had become old "and that he peed everywhere in the house." He also said he didn't want the dog dying in the house.
Ms. Taylor said that she finds that difficult to comprehend.
"I just don’t know how you can spend ten years of your life with a dog and decide you can no longer be bothered, especially at a time when that dog needs you the most."
She said she does understand that people, due to health or for financial reasons, can sometimes be overwhelmed, but said "there is lots of help available," including shelters and dog adoption centers.
Simply abandoning a pet cannot be justified, she added. What do people imagine will become of the creature?
Mr. Souza was arrested Wednesday after his police interview. He is scheduled to appear in court on July 23.