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When Kings SPCA-Rescue of Lemoore, California, noticed emails from numerous people voicing concern about an abandoned dog in the community, they realized the dog had been alone, homeless, in the same spot for at least five days. The messages had started to accumulate over the New Years weekend, a time when the shelter was very busy.

After looking at the dates on the emails, shelter staff became very worried and went to the spot where the dog had been spotted. Sure enough, he was still there. He’d gotten so hungry that he’d been eating sticks, yet he was still reluctant to leave with animal rescuers. The shelter believes this is because he wanted to stay there and wait for his owners, just in case they came back.

This situation is a real heartbreaker, and unfortunately it’s one that happens all too often. There are five times as many homeless pets in this country as there are homeless people. And Kings SPCA has had enough. Seeing this particular dog’s reaction to being abandoned over the holidays really touched a nerve. The organization wrote an open letter to the dog’s owner on its Facebook page, and the post has since gone viral with nearly 30,000 shares.

Rescuers don’t mince words in the letter, which completely calls the owner out on dumping the dog and leaving it to freeze and starve to death while he pined for his owner’s return. It reads: