Healthy life on the horizon for abandoned dog

BY ANN SPERRING
SPECIAL TO THE STAR-BANNER in Ocala, FL.

Maybe they gave her a big bowl of food to distract her.

Maybe she ran along the fence making that deep basset hound bark to remind them she was still there.

Maybe she did not even know they were leaving, but most pets can sense a major household uproar?

And maybe, just maybe, there really was a friend who was supposed to retrieve Minnie and just forgot???

Day one in mid-March of this year passed, and nobody came to feed or claim her. Day two passed the same way. The days would number 24 before the abandoned dog, left without food or water, and so hungry she chewed her food bowl to bits, would be rescued.

The Humane Society's Animal Cruelty investigator, Lil Blomlie, received an anonymous phone tip from a concerned neighbor who had left on vacation the same day Minnie's owners moved away. They had told her a friend was picking Minnie up.

Blomlie said Minnie was extremely thin and dehydrated. In fact, 8-year-old Minnie had lost almost half of a basset's normal 35-pound body weight.

Blomlie immediately took the dog to a local veterinarian, who administered subcutaneous fluids to provide rapid rehydration. She speculated the dog managed to get some water from rain puddles.

That night, Gail Leichliter, then the shelter director, now executive director, of the Humane Society, took Minnie home with her.

"I slept on the floor next to her, feeding her during the night. She was too weak to chew, so I made a high protein paste and administered it with a syringe. As weak as she was, she still wagged her tail," Leichliter said.

Animal abandonment of the type Minnie endured is a first-degree misdemeanor and punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and one year in jail.

"We are aggressively pursuing several leads," Blomlie said. Because the case is still an open investigation, she could not discuss details.

"It will be up to the State Attorney's Office to decide if charges will be filed, and if the suspects are located out of state whether or not they will be extradited," she said. "Proving this type of crime is very difficult because the defendants often claim it was the fault of another party that the animal was abandoned."

Minnie is not yet ready for adoption, according to Leichliter.

"She needs medical and dental care as a result of the malnourishment, that will cost several hundred dollars. Unfortunately, we get in critical cases all the time and have to decide how to spend our limited funds on the most urgent needs."

MINDFUL OF MINNIE
Anyone wishing to make a donation to help with Minnie's medical care can send a check marked "Minnie's Fund" to the Marion County Humane Society, 701 N.W. 14th Road, Ocala, FL 34475 or phone to make a credit card donation.

PLEASE HELP, MINNIE NEEDS YOUR DONATIONS....................PLEASE.................

All of us here are dedicated to teaching people about proper care of animals. Both the physical and mental well being of all creatures is everyone's responsibility. We need you to join us in fighting the good fight against animal abuse. If you see animal abuse, either physical or mental, and don't know what to do about it, talk to us, let us guide you through the steps of reporting it, let us add our support, let us be there to help you. All of us working together, one voice to help those creatures whom cannot speak out and help themselves. Taking even one tiny step towards stopping animal abuse is a large step for all mankind. Their suffering will continue if people like you and I do not step in and help them. They cannot help themselves, they need us.U.

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