A heartbreaking photograph captures the moment a dog ran after the people who had just left him at a Louisiana gas station.
The black German shepherd mix appeared confused when two men pulled up and dropped him off at a gas station in the town of Slidell, witness Lorie Hollis told the Humane Society of Louisiana. One of the individuals was heard saying, "Go! Go over there!" before driving off without him.
"The dog tried desperately to keep up with the truck as it sped away down the road," said Hollis.
Hollis snapped a photo of the blue and white truck and tried to follow it in her car. She ultimately lost sight of the vehicle and the dog, who was chasing the truck several miles down the road.
Although it was originally believed to be a case of pet abandonment, it's actually even more bewildering. Humane Society director Jeff Dorson told The Dodo that they were able find the animal and his owners living about two miles away from the gas station. The owners suggested that they didn't abandon the dog, but rather let him find his own way home by running down the busy road - and they do it all the time.
"It's now morphed into a case of irresponsible pet ownership," Dorson said. "They think that it OK to let the dog chase them as they drive down a busy highway. We find this very strange. It's a small miracle that no one has been hurt, either a passing motorist swerving to miss him, or the dog himself."
According to Dorson, exposing the dog to such dangers not only "shows a real lack of care and concern," but it is also against the law:
"I told them it was illegal to do this, and they said 'Oh? When did they pass that law?' I said, 'Probably 50 or 60 years ago.'"
Fortunately, Humane Society staff are dedicated to getting this dog, whose life has been threatened time and time again, out of harm's way for good.
"We're going to get the dog the next time he's loose and cite those people," he said. "Things are going to happen for the better. This is just day one of a process that will end in our favor. They don't care about this dog enough, but we do."
This story has been updated to include information uncovered after the dog's owners were found.