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The human capacity for animal cruelty is difficult to understand. Late in November 2009, Riverside Utility workers in southern California found two chihuahuas bound in electrical tape, their mouths taped so they could not cry for aid, wedged in an iron drain-cover in an irrigation canal.

NemoThey were probably there about twenty-four hours. One of the dogs had drowned but its companion was unhurt.

What a way to kill/abandon one's pets! And it's not like chihuahuas are hard to unload, probably could've given them away in five minutes standing in any parking lot.

Taken to a the Rivedrside County Department of Animal Services, the seven pound survivor was named Nemo, though the chi is female.

A great many people were moved by Nemo's story and wanted to adopt her. So the shelter decided to settle the issue of who got the dog with an essay contest.

There were thirty-five entries, the winner announced at a pet-adoption event in Riverside City Hall.

The winner was Long Beach resident Eilene Magedoff, Nemo's new adoptive mom, who was moved by Nemo's story because she, too, had been a survivor of a violent crime. Nemo now lives with Eilene's family and three other rescue chihuahuas.

The other dog who did not make it through the ordeal was unforgotten. A $500 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest of the criminal responsible for this lurid crime. Further donations soon expanded the reward to $3,000.

Though Nemo's celebrity gave him a happy ending, Riverside County Animal Control receives around 4,000 cats and 6,000 dogs each year, the majority never adopted. The vast majority of the cats, and far too many of the dogs, are put down.

Nemo

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