“Free” and “I Need a Home” Written on Abandoned Dog Found in Benicia

An abandoned dog was found with the words "free" and "I need a home" written on it in permanent marker in a typically dog-friendly Northern California community last week.

Shannon Bettencourt just finished her shift at the Chill Wine Bar in downtown Benicia on July 3 when she saw the dog standing by a tree.

"She was scared, shaking and kind of whimpering," Bettencourt said.

She couldn't believe someone just left the dog on the side of the street with words written directly on it.

"I was heartbroken, it was really sad," Bettencourt said. "Nobody wants to see an animal like that ever."

Bettencourt took the dog home, where her fiance, Chris Franco, was waiting.

"(The dog) was obviously well taken care of. You could have easily found a home for a dog like this if you really gave it half an effort," he said.

The couple tried to find clues as to what happened through Facebook, with no luck. So they kept her.

"The first night I let her sleep in the bed with me because I knew she needed something, and she just slept on my stomach the whole night," Bettencourt said.

Bettencourt named the dog Libby, short for Liberty. She thought it was appropriate since she found Libby the day before the Fourth of July.

She says Libby is well-mannered and likes to play with other dogs. Libby also seems to like Bettencourt, too.

"She's super well-trained, and it just doesn't make sense why somebody would dump her," Bettencourt said.

Bettencourt plans to formally adopt Libby this week. The Benicia Police Department says the original owner could face dog abandonment charges. They're asking witnesses to call them.

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