NEW JERSEY — A New Jersey man may face charges after he allegedly tied up his dog outside an airport 1,000 miles from his home and then left her there while he flew back to the East Coast.
The 1-year-old pup, named Allie, was abandoned at the Des Moines, Iowa, airport on December 29. She was tied up in front of the terminal when her owner was told that without a box, she couldn’t take her home.
It took only minutes for travelers to alert police about Allie’s abandonment, after her owner, identified as Charles Bigsen, decided to take that flight back to New Jersey without his pet.
Despite the 1,000-mile flight, Bigsen will not be able to escape the long arm of the law. He was returning home just before the New Year from work in Iowa, but will possibly face a dog abandonment charge in the state. However, there were no signs of abuse.
“I believe the previous owner has verbally relinquished all ownership rights to us,” said Joe Stafford of the Animal Rescue League-Iowa, where Allie is now up for adoption. “She really is a very affectionate, sweet, loving young dog who exhibited a lot of puppy-like behaviors.”
Our sister network NBC New York was unable to reach Bigsen for comment.
Back in Newark, at the Associated Humane Societies shelter near Newark International Airport, staff said abandonments in general aren’t that rare.
“We have dogs on leashes, we leave them in the parks and we constantly capture them. You take out four, you put in 10 more,” said Lindsay Papa, the manager of the shelter.
While Allie now gets a lot of attention and love, especially on social media, there’s mild outrage at the Newark animal shelter that any dog could be abandoned like that.
“To buy a dog, to give it love, care. Just to leave it, that would be like leaving my child,” said Hakim Green, supervisor of Associated Humane Societies Newark.
Shelters like the one in Newark have plenty of dogs up for adoption, but Allie no longer has those concerns in Iowa. The Animal Rescue League told our sister network NBC New York that one of the travelers involved in the rescue will be her new owner in a week or so.