Abandoned Mastiff To Find New Home After Miraculous Rescue

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What began as a regular Tuesday morning commute to work for Ray Quiñones, turned one dog’s fate from potential tragedy into a deeply heartwarming rescue. At approximately 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 1, Quiñones, a sanitation worker in Garden City, was on his way to work, along the Southern State Parkway. As he passed exit 21 in the westbound lanes, a gigantic dog tied to a set-back light pole on the shoulder caught his attention out of the corner of his eye.

Ray Quiñones finds Roxi, abandoned and tied to a light pole at exit 21 on the Southern State Parkway on July 1. (Ray Quiñones)

Quiñones recalled how odd it seemed, but it was all happening so quickly, as he, along with hundreds of other commuters were whizzing along at 60 mph.

He quickly pulled off onto the shoulder of the parkway and started to approach the dog.

“She was yelping for help as I approached, but as I got closer she started wagging her tail and her ears went down,” Quiñones said. “I probably could have walked up to her, but she didn’t know what was going on; she was nervous and started barking.”

Quiñones did not take any chances. He stayed a few feet away and dialed 911.

“It was easy for everyone to miss a dog tied to the pole on the parkway; everyone is watching the traffic ahead of them; they’re tired; it’s early morning,” Quiñones said. “For whatever reason, I just turned my head and there she was. I thought I was seeing things.”

He said the responding troopers even admitted that the scene was easy to miss, that they just barely saw Quiñones standing off on the side of the road near the tethered dog.

A handwritten letter left by Roxi’s owner for her rescuer on July 1 (NYSP)

Quiñones said whoever tied Roxi to the light pole left a bowl of food and a note that read, “This is Roxi, a trained American Bull Mastiff. She is four years old. She has been fed and given a flea bath. She may still have issues with them. See that she gets good care.”

The troopers promptly rescued and transported Roxi to the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter for evaluation.

Ray Quiñones calls 911 to report Roxi’s abandonment; state police arrive and take her to the town shelter. (Ray Quiñones)

Upon arrival, the town shelter confirmed that she was not microchipped.

Roxi, with her handler, Ashley at the town shelter during the July 3 press conference (Christy Hinko)

Town Supervisor Don Clavin and Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly held a brief press conference on Wednesday, July 3, with the New York State Police, at the town shelter, seeking details of Roxi’s abandonment.

Roxi at the town shelter during the July 3 press conference (Christy Hinko)

American Mastiffs are a large, powerful breed known for their loyalty and gentle temperament. Developed in the late 20th century, this breed is a mix of the English Mastiff and the Anatolian Shepherd, resulting in a dog with a slightly drier mouth, reducing the drooling commonly associated with mastiffs. They are excellent family pets, displaying protective instincts while being exceptionally patient and gentle with children. American Mastiffs are also known for their intelligence and ease of training. With proper socialization and training, they become devoted and affectionate companions, making them well-suited for families seeking a reliable and loving guardian.

As of press time, the circumstances surrounding Roxi’s abandonment are still unknown; the case is still under investigation by the state police, with the assistance of the county district attorney’s office. Someone might surrender their pet due to financial hardship, allergies, or unforeseen life changes. To do it properly, contact a reputable animal shelter or rescue organization, provide detailed information about the pet’s health and behavior, and ensure a safe, compassionate transition to a new home. The pet’s well-being should always be a priority.

Ray Quiñones visits Roxi at the town shelter following her rescue. (Ray Quiñones)

“I did stop at the shelter to see her immediately following her rescue,” Quiñones said. “I love dogs; I have had dogs my whole life.”
His own dog passed away last summer, a 17-year-old Doxle (Dachshund Beagle mix).

Roxi, with shelter staff at the July 3 press conference (Christy Hinko)

The town animal shelter is actively accepting applications for Roxi’s adoption. Although it is the question almost everyone has asked the most, Quiñones is presently unable to give Roxi the home she deserves, due to his rental agreement.

Adoption applications, photos and brief descriptions of the town’s adoptable animals are available on the town’s website (hempsteadny.gov/Animal-Shelter).

The Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter is located at 3320 Beltagh Ave. in Wantagh. The shelter is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The town’s animal control officers are available to respond to reports of loose or stray dogs and injured or sick feral cats by calling 516-785-5220. Contact the department of public safety for after-hours reports at 516-538-1900. Call 516-THE-SPCA (516-843-7722) to report animal cruelty.

The New York State Police Department is asking for any witnesses or anyone with information about Roxi to call 631-756-3300.

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