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A man has been charged with animal neglect after he abandoned his pet dog at an Iowa airport after being told he needed a kennel to get on his flight.

Source: We Are Iowa Local 5 News/YouTube

24-year-old Bigsen Charles has been accused of tying his dog, Stella, outside of the Des Moines International Airport. Charles then reportedly jumped on a plane to Newark, New Jersey, by himself, leaving the seven-month-old pup behind. He had paid for Stella to fly with him but didn’t know he would need a kennel to do so.

“I already checked in and didn’t want to miss my flight,” he told the Daily Mail. “I thought if I paid for the dog on the plane they would give her a kennel. I didn’t know I had to bring my own.”

Charles said he tried to ask for the driver who brought them to the airport to pick Stella up and even asked airport staff to allow her to stay inside. When neither of those options worked, he tied Stella outside and hoped that one of his friends could come to get her, but he was not able to get through to anyone.

Stella was found outside by airport staff, who contacted the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Iowa. An animal control officer picked Stella up, and authorities launched an investigation. Charles said that he was not trying to hurt Stella, who he got for his daughter last summer. He said that he was crying because he didn’t want to leave her but knew someone would end up taking her.

The animal control officer who picked up Stella, Tina Updegrove, said that Charles admitted to her that he knew what he did was wrong. Updegrove said she spent days trying to contact Stella’s owners, and now finally, with Charles’ permission, she will be put up for adoption.

We encourage everyone thinking of getting a pet to only adopt instead of shopping. Read more resources about adopting animals on One Green Planet, including 7 Reasons to Adopt Your Next Furry Best Friend, 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Adopt a Pet, and These Heartwarming Before and After Pictures of Adopted Rescue Animals Will Make Your Day! Read tips for pet adoptions and what to consider before adopting an animal. We recommend using these apps to find shelter dogs near you!

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