Ava abandoned again, this time found as stray in Las Vegas

On Wednesday morning, June 22nd, our cat adoption center received a call that one of our previously adopted dogs had been found as a stray in Las Vegas. 

It was Ava.

For those who don’t know the story of Ava, she is a chocolate American pit bull who had been in and out of shelters since 2016 when she was found abandoned in a field in Orange Cove. She was malnourished, underweight, and had severe mange. Watch the video below for Ava’s original history with us.

In March 2017, Ava was adopted but found abandoned once again in Pima, Arizona in 2019. Again, she was found malnourished.

We took to social media to raise funds to bring Ava back. Using #BringAvaHome, we asked for $800 to cover the cost of travel expenses. More than $1,300 were raised and we were successfully reunited with her on July 24, 2019.

Thanks to coverage by local media, Ava was adopted again on September 23, 2020.

“We have some of the best news Ava,” we shared on a social media post published on September 24, 2020. “Our cute-as-a-button American pit bull, Ava, was adopted yesterday! Our staff went mutts over the successful adoption. Yes, some tears were shed.”

Just a year after she was adopted from us in 2020, Ava and her adopters paid us a visit after our Super Adoption event in June 2021. She was such a happy and silly dog. We were all so overjoyed with her and so thankful she found a home. One of our staff members had commented on a Facebook post about the encounter, “Cheers to never having to find her abandoned in a desert ever again!”

Ava, visiting Valley Animal Center a year after she was adopted in 2020.

We all moved on believing Ava had finally found her furever home. Today, however, we are devastated.

“To hear that Ava was abandoned yet again is very disheartening and makes me sick to my stomach,” our animal care adoption supervisor, Ruben, said. “She has been through so much in her life and doesn’t deserve this.”

When Ruben received notice of Ava on Wednesday, June 22nd, he attempted to contact the numbers we had on Ava’s adoption file to figure out what had happened. All phones on file were either disconnected or didn’t answer. 

Ruben was able to speak to a Las Vegas animal control representative and they were fortunately able to locate and contact Ava’s adopters who informed the representative that they had moved and left Ava in the care of trusted family members. Ava’s adopters reached out to said family members and reported back to the representative, who then told us the trusted family members had “cut Ava loose.”

On Thursday, June 23rd, we received news that Ava’s adopters made the decision to relinquish their rights to Ava.

Thanks to The Animal Foundation of Las Vegas where Ava is currently being cared for, Ruben plans to drive to Las Vegas on Saturday, June 25th.

“It’s possible Ava may be able to meet us halfway,” Ruben said. “Either way, we’re making the journey, and Ava will be back in our care very soon. We believe she was roaming Las Vegas in triple-digit weather. Her skin looks so red in the photo provided by The Animal Foundation. I honestly can’t wait to get on the road and see my girl.”

Ava, photo from The Animal Foundation of Las Vegas

To help Ruben #BringAvaHome, donate today! All funds raised will help cover travel expenses and continued medical and mental care of Ava. Donate HERE.


UPDATE 6/27/2022

Our Animal Care Adoption Supervisor, Ruben Cantu, with the help of his wife, Raquel, successfully brought Ava home to Valley Animal Center this weekend!

We gave her a bath and she underwent surgery for some mass removals. We are now focusing on her health and well-being as we decide how to ensure this sweet girl’s future does not include another abandonment. Thank you to The Animal Foundation of Las Vegas for contacting us. Thank you to all your support and kindness in helping us bring Ava home safe and sound.

You can be a monthly sponsor to support Ava! Sponsor her by clicking HERE.

News coverage of Ava:





Valley Animal Center is dedicated to serving animal companions in the Central Valley and beyond. Our mission is to unite dogs and cats with loving people. We believe every animal deserves a loving family and furever home. Donate to support our endless mission as we care for the hundreds of homeless dogs and cats.


  1. Debi on June 26, 2022 at 8:33 pm

    Oh this story!!! That poor girl/Ava! My sister sent this story to me. I live in NC, she lives in Vegas. The thing that attracted us to this story is we love animals and she has our Mom’s name(Ava) whom we lost several years ago at the age of 82. She passed in her sleep.
    I wanted to make a suggestion for Ava…you guys have received her back 3 times( I think that’s right), Ava is meant to be your dog Ruben! I am a Christian and I have the strongest feeling that God’s plan for Ava is you!

  2. Yolanda Sanders on June 27, 2022 at 6:16 am

    I will be a long time home.

  3. Yolanda Sanders on June 27, 2022 at 6:17 am

    We doubt on our dogs and horses we have no children and would be a great home.

    • Valley Animal Center on June 28, 2022 at 9:49 pm

      Unfortunately, Ava is not available for adoption at the moment. Thank you, Yolanda!

  4. Linda Sawyer on June 27, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    If Ava is ok with cats, w can adopt her. We have two dogs, a horse and 4 cats on 5 acres in Medford Oregon. She can be an old lady here.

    • Valley Animal Center on June 28, 2022 at 9:48 pm

      Unfortunately, Ava doesn’t do quite well with cats. At the moment, she is unavailable for adoption. Thank you, Linda!

    • Maxine Sangrey on July 6, 2022 at 11:06 am

      I want to adopt Ava. I am in Montana. I have a 13 year old pitbull who would love to have a sister. Obviously I keep my dogs for life. She will never leave my home. I will keep her for the rest of her life and love her forever.. What can I do to apply.

      • Nou Her on July 8, 2022 at 5:13 pm

        Hi Maxine. At the moment, Ava is not available for adoption. Thank you for your love and concern towards her.

  5. Jaime Hernandez on June 27, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    I live in Pilot Point,Texas we just had are Chihuahua pass away with Addison Disease. 3 weeks ago and it really hurt me and my wife due to we saved her from a breeding house. We loved her so much now I’m looking for a animals that’s been through a lot cause they don’t deserve that. We saved A Rottweiler from starvation and nobody wanted now he weighs 87 pounds has 2 cats and a Chihuahua that he loves and protects. But he need a play mate a little stronger and his size, so was looking at Ava I really would like to make her life easy and enjoyable till the days she gets called. My animals don’t be tied up they roam freely in are house and sleeps inside at night all my animals are very trained by me and my wife even the cats we don’t have a litter box for them they let us know when they need to potty and have everyone on a set schedule due to we both work.

    • Valley Animal Center on June 28, 2022 at 9:47 pm

      Thank you Jaime. At the moment however, Ava is not available for adoption. We are focusing on her health and well-being as we discuss how to ensure her future doesn’t involve another abandonment!

  6. Burleigh M Lockwood on June 27, 2022 at 5:04 pm

    Several years ago I adopted a 4-time surrender Samoyed mix named Angel. She passed away last year and i would love to provide a home for AVA. The one caveat is that she is okay with cats, I have several, and an elderly foundling Chihuahua mix. I cannot understand why people take on a dog of whatever breed or mix without serious thought and some research. To abandon any animal is unthinkable. Regardless, I wish the best for Ava, she deserves it.

  7. Patricia Moore on June 28, 2022 at 1:33 am

    Welcome home Ava! We love you!

  8. Kristina Miko on June 29, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    I hardly ever make online comments, but my GS baby, Zeze (an SPCA “survivor”) and I have known Ruben for years already. He is the most caring and most responsible person whom I have ever known in Fresno’s limping animal welfare system. Ava’s case should tell everyone that Ruben would do everything, beyond expectations, for these innocent souls. Zeze and I always look forward to meet him at the VAC. We love you, Ruben! Kudos to your beautiful wife as well!

    • Maxine Sangrey on July 6, 2022 at 11:58 am

      I want to adopt this dog I am in Montana. I have a 13 yr old pitbull who would love to have a sister.. Obviously I keep my pets for life. She will never leave the love of my home. Please contact me.

  9. Lori brooks on July 6, 2022 at 2:37 am

    Just out of curiosity when will she be up for adoption? I love her so much

    • Nou Her on July 8, 2022 at 5:14 pm

      Hi Lori. Please continue to follow our social media for updates on Ava. We thank you on her behalf for all the love!

  10. Maria on July 7, 2022 at 4:46 am

    Hearbreaking and unconscionable! Ava is a example that Dogs love and trust unconditionally. She has gone through so much in her precious life. Karma will come to those who did this despicable act to her. I am sickened by them and hope they dont have another animals in there care. Who ever knows them, should keep a close eye on them becuase 100% they will do this again and are probably neglecting any other animals in their care. They disgust me. With that said, it is nice to see the post on here of people willling to open their homes to Ava once she is available. I have faith in the human race. 🙂 I know Valley Animal Center will be even more diligent in their screenings and adoption process for Ava’s new forever home and now for all other animals they have for adoption to avoid for this happening again to her or any other rescue baby. They deserve love, care, respect and kisses!! Thank you for loving and caring for them. <3

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