-- Pierre, the "abandoned" chihuahua in California that received global attention for his heartbreaking story and red-painted nails, hadn't been abandoned at all, animal officials said today.
"We started getting reports from people that she [Pierre's rescuer] was saying that she just purchased the puppy, which was quite different from finding the puppy," Beth Brookhouser, director of community outreach of SPCA for Monterey County, told ABC News today. "We don’t have all the exact info but we do know that she purchased the puppy from a homeless person in the area."
Brookhouser told ABC News on July 24 that Pierre, now adopted by a family, was surrendered to the SPCA by a woman who said she found him trapped inside a lavender doggy purse on July 19, behind a restaurant called Patria in Salinas, California.
"She [said she] heard some crying, looked in alley and found him in his carry bag," Brookhouser said. "It was very dirty and there was no food or water."
Brookhouser added that the woman claimed to have cared for the dog for a few days before handing him over to the shelter.
After receiving countless tips, SPCA officers approached the alleged rescuer, alerting her that new information regarding Pierre didn't align with her initial story.
"When she couldn’t find it a new home she decided to bring him to us," she said. "She was contrite and apologetic and we felt that the embarrassment of being caught in such a public lie was enough.
"Hopefully it provides education to others about being truthful," Brookhouser added. "We hope people now know they can always bring pets to us, no questions asked. We will take in any animal in need no matter how serious, sad, or silly the reason for bringing them to us may be."
Brookhouser said although the woman confessed to lying about the dog's abandonment, no charges will be filed against her.
She added that Pierre the chihuahua was adopted by a California family on Aug. 7.