Run free King: Dog tied to truck strangled in heat of day at shelter

In Houston, Texas, a dog owner left his dog tied to the back of his truck in the 100 degree heat while he waited in the air-conditioned lobby of the Harris County Animal Shelter. It was to be a tragic end of life for the dog named King  – and that was before he was to be surrendered to the shelter.

A volunteer wrote:

“This poor boy was being surrendered today, but unfortunately never made it inside. His POS owner thought it would be a good idea to leave him tied up in the back of his truck (with it being almost 100 degrees outside) and he tried escaping and hung himself. His name was King – run free sweet boy and I’m sorry that humans failed you. Run free King – 8/5/2019,” the Facebook post stated.

The rope had wedged itself between the truck bed and the cab. As King jumped, perhaps to find shade away from the direct sunlight, he strangled in a slow torturous death. By the time King was found and the photo was taken, the dog had died.

The next day,  a heartbroken animal advocate, Nancy Byron addressed King’s owner in an open letter written on Facebook; the message was quickly shared throughout social media.


“We don’t know one another, and, I think it is safe to say, that is a good thing. This means of course that you will likely never see this; so why write it?

It is true I should be working right now, just as last night I should have been sleeping. Instead I was plagued with horrible dreams full of dogs I couldn’t save, dying in terrible ways. Your dog, King, was the first thing to enter my head when I woke up. I’m willing to bet that’s the first time anyone has said that about him.

When you loaded him in to the bed of your Silverado, like I am sure you have done so many times, was he happy? Was he so excited to be ‘going somewhere’ with his mom or dad? Of course, he couldn’t know how reckless and irresponsible, and yes, cruel it was that he was forced to ride in the bed. It was 99 degrees in Houston yesterday. I don’t even know how hot the metal bed of a pickup gets in that kind of heat but I do know that I was miserable every time I had to go outside with my dogs yesterday.”

And Nancy’s heart wrenching letter continued; not for the owner, but for King.

“…And then you got to the Harris County Shelter. I’ve been there, sadly. It’s an air conditioned building and I’m guessing there was a wait; there usually is because pets are so disposable to people like you and so many others in this fine city. But you left King outside. Tied to your truck. In the bed, in the blazing sun, while you waited in the nice cool lobby to surrender him, very possibly to his death. But he saved you the trouble, and the shelter a needle full of pink poison, and hung himself trying to escape.”

The letter continued and[sic] hoped that law enforcement would do something to remind owners they must be held accountable for the suffering and death of their pets who look to their humans for the compassion and care they deserve. The letter ended with the following words:

“I doubt that the death of your dog, King, is going to haunt you the way that it will haunt me but I am very, very happy to say, that is what makes us so very different.


Someone Who Cares”

As so often happens, social media reaches out to areas never expected. Indeed, King’s owner responded to the letter.

“My response to your Open letter.
Before I start I wanna to say that this tragedy that occurred on Monday does not impact anyone more than my family and me. Our best friend is gone and none of you are making it any easier on us. I was not gonna entertain all this negativity but I must address this simply because of the overall love king has received..We loved our dog. I spent countless hours working with him,training him, loving him. All you that have pets know that their[sic] not just pets. They are a part of your family and Kings was a part of my family for 9 yrs, and he was an inside dog all his life how many you people can say that about your pet? Hmmmpphh..”

The owner then explained what happened on Monday which prompted the decision to surrender King to the shelter.

“…This all occurred on Monday with a phone call from my son saying that king was hurting another dog. Some months back he got into it with my other neighbors dogs. My wife and kids were terrified.
So with a heavy heart I rushed home knowing I was gonna have to take king inn to the shelter.
I put a towel back there and tied him up b.c he was had blood all over him and bleeding from his tongue and had blood all in his paws.
When I arrived I literally parked offset to the front door. Told king to sit. And stay .. which he did.. I walked to the front because there was an intake person outside waiting for people.. we spoke for all of 5 min when I volunteer walks up and says’there’s a dog hanging from a truck.’…  “

The owner rushed back to the truck. King was unresponsive. Authorities later met with the owner; that information has not been made public.

More than likely King would have been euthanized by the shelter had he survived Monday afternoon. The dog’s behavioral problems would not have made it easy to find him a safe rescue organization or foster home.

More than likely King’s owner will get another dog, and King’s death will be classified as accidental; the loser in this tragic story was King. He deserved better.

Rest in peace boy. We all hope you have found peace over the rainbow bridge.

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4 replies
  1. Jan Barnes says:


    TO HELL!

  2. Bunny Peters says:

    This useless POS will burn forever in Hell for his cruelty…… just can’t fix “Stupid”……

    Poor precious treasure King, your life was stolen from you and your life mattered!!!

    Sorry you were failed by your human (who should have loved and protected you)…….

    I absolutely know you are in Heaven.
    RIP King. Please look for MacKitty in Heaven and he will welcome you into his snuggle buddies group. You can RIP amongst his loving friends……..

  3. sherry mainquist says:

    I’m so sad for you King… it sounds like your owner was careless in his actions at the shelter parking lot and at home…the justice you deserve will not be achieved…RIP beautiful pitty!!! Your free and no one can hurt you now…


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