'Help. There's a dog left here:' Cry for help scrawled on tent in east London

Moon Animal Rescue founder, Shelby Tilley received a call on Saturday, after three people hiking in east London near Pottersburg Dog Park, discovered a zipped up tent with a mild-mannered black and brown dog inside. Someone had spray painted the words, 'Help. There's a dog left here,' on the side of the tent.

Local animal rescue retrieved the dog and is caring for it, but continue to look for owner

Someone spray painted the words, 'Help there's a dog left here,' on the side of this tent in London's east end. A dog was discovered inside the zipped up tent. (Submitted by Shelby Tilley)

An animal rescue group in London, Ont., is looking for the owner of a dog that was left inside a zipped-up tent in the woods in the east end of the city.

Bark at the Moon Animal Rescue founder, Shelby Tilley received a call on Saturday, after three people hiking near Pottersburg Dog Park discovered the tent with the words 'Help. There's a dog left here,' scrawled on the side with blue spray paint.

The found a black and brown, mild-mannered dog inside.

"It was very clear that nobody had been there for a couple of days," said Tilley. "There was pee and poop around the inside of the tent."

There was a water bowl. It was brown and very murky." 

Three boys discovered this tent behind the Pottersburg Dog Park in east London. Someone spray painted the words, 'Help there's a dog left here,' on the side of the tent. The boys discovered a brown dog inside. (Submitted by Shelby Tilley)

Tilley took the dog and left a note with her phone number inside the tent and has been trying to track down the owner.

"I started reaching out to local shelters — pretty much anywhere that I could think of to try and get ahold of the owners, just to let them know that their dog was safe," said Tilley. She's also been posting photos of the dog on various local Facebook groups.

A trip to the vet revealed the dog is underweight, likely around two years old and not micro-chipped, she said.

"It is not likely they left the dog behind because they wanted to necessarily," said Tilley. "They could have been hospitalized. Something could have happened."

"The ministry can confirm that Animal Welfare Services is conducting an investigation into this matter," said Ministry of the Solicitor General spokesperson, Brent Ross. "Given the ongoing investigation, the ministry will not be commenting further."

In cases such as this though, the ministry considers whether the standards of care under the PAWS Act are being met, he said.

The three boys who discovered the dog, named him Tank. He is now staying at a boarding home until his owner is found or he is rehomed. (Shelby Tilley)

Pets provide love and support for those sleeping rough

"Many young people made it clear to us [that the] pets they have when they slept rough were their most trusted companions," said Steve Cordes, executive director of the social services organization, Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) which opened a shelter for young people and their pets two years ago, and offers regular veterinarian visits.

"(The pets) were sources of love, support, comfort and sense of safety when these folks were feeling their most isolated, least safe and least hopeful," he said.

Shelby Tilley said the dog did not have a microchip, but she has been trying to track down the owner. (Submitted by Shebly Tilley)

Tilley doesn't know the name of the dog but on the advice of the three people who first found him, she's calling him Tank because he "pulls like a tank."

"I would love nothing more than to be able to support (the dog's) family in a way that both of them can be happy and healthy and safe," said Tilley, who added she'd keep the dog through the cold winter months or provide food for the dog.

"I kind of just want to be able to have that conversation with them and see how I can support them."

But for now, Tilley is paying to keep Tank at a boarding facility.



Rebecca Zandbergen

Host, London Morning

Rebecca Zandbergen is from Ottawa and has worked for CBC Radio across the country for more than 20 years, including stops in Iqaluit, Halifax, Windsor and Kelowna. Contact Rebecca at or follow @rebeccazandberg on Twitter.