RIVERSIDE – On Jan. 8 at 5 p.m. it was 14 degrees outside, but with nothing to block the wind, the temperature felt more like the other side of the minus sign.
Cheff, a pit bull mix, was left locked up in a cage in the MacNeal Professional Building parking lot at 3722 S. Harlem Avenue.
As a parting gift, Cheff's owners left a bag of food and a note telling whoever found him his name.
Riverside police are seeking help in identifying the owner of the medium-sized, young male dog they found in the parking lot after receiving a call about a dog at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said the dog showed signs of being malnourished and devoured food given to him by officers when they arrived.
"When the officers responded it was below zero, and it looked like the dog had been out there for at least an hour or two," Weitzel said. "He was shivering and obviously neglected."
The pup was skittish when officers arrived, Weitzel said, retreating to the back of the cage. But when an officer opened the cage door with a leash in hand, Cheff slowly ambled out and walked freely to the squad car and hopped in through the open door.
From there, the dog was taken to the VCA Hospital in Berwyn where he remains.
It is unknown how long the dog was left abandoned, police said, but it was in obvious need of medical help.
Anyone who recognizes photos of the dog are asked to contact Riverside police at 708-447-2127, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Leaving animals outside in extreme cold for a period of time is considered animal cruelty and the dogs owners will be charged with a crime, police said.