I took the same intended meaning, although I can see how it was taken otherwise.I think it is maybe an Australian thing. Hyperbole, irony; hard to explain. But I understood immediately that he didn't actually abandon his dog.
Animals are my achilles heel, so I really understand how it triggers a strong reaction.
Side-story: About 10 years ago, a couple who I knew, but not very well, turned up on my doorstep with their dog and announced they were returning to their home country (UK). They asked me to take on the dog, and when I inquired what other options they had considered, it was euthanasia. I took one look at the dog, and the dog looked up at me with the saddest eyes I've ever seen - it was like she could understand.
So I became the new guardian of a 15-year old golden cocker spaniel. Turned out she had previously been rescued from an abusive environment, and was traumatised - couldn't be left alone without howling all day, and was mostly incontinent. But could not put her through re-homing yet again, so she went everywhere with me for the rest of her days. Grew to love that dear old dog, but have never forgiven the couple for treating her like an old piece of furniture.