On April 23, the Haven received a call to pick up a stray dog seen walking around in the parking lot of Pizza Hut. The dog, a purebred, 2- or 3-year-old English Setter, did not have any tags or identifying marks, said Jerry Merchant, animal control …
On April 23, the Haven received a call to pick up a stray dog seen walking around in the parking lot of Pizza Hut. The dog, a purebred, 2- or 3-year-old English Setter, did not have any tags or identifying marks, said Jerry Merchant, animal control officer for the city of Fairhope. Authorities are seeking help from residents in locating the owner.
Although it is unknown at this time whether the dog was abandoned or whether it is a runaway, Michael Graham, director of the Haven, said one thing is clear — the dog, severely starved and dehydrated, had been neglected over a prolonged period of time, and the owner faces possible prosecution.
“He has been starved and dehydrated over a long period of time, but I am not qualified to say how long. On the emaciation scale of one to five, this dog is a five,” said Graham. “He weighs only 32 pounds — he should weigh 70-75 pounds.”
The dog may have been kept outside, Graham added, because it was covered with ticks.
Preliminary examination by Dr. Theresa Marshall of the Downtown Animal Clinic did not reveal any major injuries.
Merchant said he believes the dog will survive, but he said it will be a long process.
“This is going to be more than a week or two,” said Merchant. “This dog is skin and bones. This is going to take months.”
Once the canine is nursed back to health, he said, it will need to undergo treatment for heartworms. Merchant said judging by the condition of the dog, it is highly unlikely that the owner ever treated him for heartworms.
The dog has a beautiful head, said Merchant, and it has a wonderful disposition. “If we can get him through this, he’ll make someone a great pet.”
Animal neglect is a crime, said Merchant, as is abandoning an animal. He said it is important to publicize occurrences of animal abuse or neglect, because they draw attention to the problem and encourage activists and animal lovers to step forward and work on preventing these incidents.
People who abuse animals to this degree are five times more likely to commit a violent crime against humans, said Graham.
Anyone with any information should call Merchant at 929-0354.