Former UFC fighter, Frank Shamrock, could be charged with animal cruelty after he abandoned a dog in a Dallas airport parking garage for multiple days.
Shamrock, 46, initially searched for someone to care for his mother’s dog Zelda on social media, but when he couldn’t find anyone to take her, he instead tied the 7-year-old Labrador mix to the bed of a pickup truck and flew out to another state.
The fighter has admitted to abandoning Zelda, claiming that there were no other options for the “old dog with a goofy hip.”
On March 6, Dallas Police Officers were notified of an abandoned pup by a witness at Love Field Airport, a representative at the Dallas Police Department (DPD) confirmed to PEOPLE.
The witness explained that they had noticed the dog in the bed of the truck when they first arrived at the airport parking garage on March 4 — but two days later, after returning from their trip, poor Zelda was still there.
Dallas Animal Services (DAS) were called to the scene, where they issued city code violation to Shamrock. Officials were also able to determine from the investigation that Zelda had arrived at the garage on March 2, DPD said.
Animal Services eventually took Zelda into protective custody, while an animal cruelty investigation is underway.
The Dallas Police Department said it expects to file a charge of Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals for “abandoning an animal without making reasonable arrangements for assumption of custody by another person,” a Class A Misdemeanor.
On March 8, Zelda was transferred to the SPCA of Texas’ Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center, where she currently remains under their care.
Shamrock has also recently agreed to relinquish ownership of Zelda to the rescue center.
Ahead of his trip, Shamrock posted on Facebook to try to find someone to take the dog — just an hour before his flight. “Please help! Anyone [in] Dallas, Texas that can help with this dog,” he wrote over two photos of the pup.
Underneath the post, Shamrock added: “Can anyone take a dog today in Dallas Texas? My mom has to give her dogs away as she can’t care for them anymore. We will be at Dallas Love Field Airport by 4pm and flights at 5pm.”
“Dog lovers please help Zelda is a great guard dog and she has protected my mom for years,” he continued. “I have called every shelter and no kill pet center within 200 miles. Now I have to fly home and need some help.”
While it is not clear where Shamrock flew to, he posted about a trip to Aspen on Instagram March 9. “First trip to Aspen and it snowed like crazy most of the time. Today was flawless perfect sun and the slopes looked amazing,” he wrote alongside several photos on the slopes.
Amid the investigations, the former UFC fighter spoke to WFAA-TV, where he admitted to his actions but referred to himself as an “animal lover.”
“They can charge me with whatever. I will show up,” he told the outlet. “It is what it is. I’m not hiding in any way. It’s an unfortunate and terrible thing. I’m an animal lover and I ran away crying. … It’s an old dog — no one wants a 6 1/2, 7-year-old dog with a goofy hip.”
Shortly after, he also spoke out on Instagram, where he insisted that he was “not being investigated and only took the call to help bring awareness to animal cruelty and elder abuse.”
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Despite spending days tied to a truck, SPCA’s Vice President Maura Davies said Zelda has been doing well under their care and will hopefully find a new home soon.
“She appears to be in good health and will be evaluated for adoption,” Davies told PEOPLE. “Zelda is friendly and affectionate with animal care staff and volunteers, and in good spirits, despite the recent events she’s been through.
“It was shocking to me to hear about Zelda’s alleged abandonment, as she apparently sat in the cold for days and I don’t know whether or not she had food or water,” she added. “It is important for people to know that in Texas, abandoning an animal is against the law.”
Those who are interested in adopting Zelda can find more information here.