There is no such thing as an ’animal lover’ who ties up a dog in a Dallas airport garage and leaves it to starve for four days.

This is what former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Frank Shamrock did, when he could not find someone to look after his mother’s dog. He tied Zelda, a seven-year-old Labrador-mix to the bed of a pickup truck at Love Field Airport and flew to another state.

In an interview with WFAA-TV, he admitted to abandoning the dog but said he was an ‘animal lover’.

“They can charge me with whatever. I will show up… It is what it is. I’m not hiding in any way. It’s an unfortunate and terrible thing. I’m an animal lover and I ran away crying… It’s an old dog — no one wants a 6 1/2, 7-year-old dog with a goofy hip,” he is quoted as saying.

Dallas police were alerted about the tied dog when a witness notified them. The person saw the dog on March 4, and two days later when returning from a trip, it was still there. Dallas Animal Services responded to the scene and determined that the dog was in fact there from March 2. They took Zelda and she has since been moved to the SPCA of Texas where she remains under their care.

According to reports, Shamrock has relinquished ownership of Zelda to the facility.

In Texas, abandoning an animal is against the law. An investigation of animal cruelty is underway but Shamrock has not yet been charged.

David Barritt, chief campaigner of Network for Animals (NFA) said: “To say that you are an animal lover and ‘ran away crying’ is nonsense. No one who is truly crying for an animal would leave one to starve for four days. This man could have easily left the dog at his home and got a pet sitter to look after it.”

“The question that remains is – Why would he take it to the airport if he knew he was flying out of the state and would only return days later? Surely, he planned what he was going to do with the dog once he got to the airport.”

Barritt said he was concerned that many days had passed since the incident, yet an arrest has not been made.

“All too often in incidents like this, justice is not done, but the truth is that this is an illegal act that inflicted cruelty on an innocent animal. I truly hope the police will investigate and not let this slide.

No one is above the law. We don’t know exactly when Shamrock was due to return from his trip. What if he had gone for 10 days? That dog would be dead if it had not been rescued.”