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Sunday, November 15, 2009

‘The Way Some People Treat Animals Is Just NOT Acceptable!'

"Abandoned dog’s condition appalls shelter manager"

As the shelter manager for the Rogue Valley Humane Society, Margaret Varner is used to seeing abused animals. She thought she’d pretty much seen it all, but then along came Freedom.

Last Saturday, a couple dropped off the white pit bull mix they said they’d found in a ditch in the Sanitarium Road area near Merlin. The dog was emaciated. Her ribs were sticking out, and she weighed less than 40 pounds. All of her teeth had been filed down to the gum line so that her teeth roots are exposed. She had a few pressure sores where the bones rubbed against the skin and caused sores.

She had also given birth to nine puppies earlier that day. One puppy later died. “The puppies still had umbilical cords attached and were wet,” said Varner. “It just broke my heart. I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about what she had been through. And she is still a love. She just wants to snuggle up to you and be petted.”

Freedom was taken to a veterinarian on Sunday for emergency treatment. Varner estimates that Freedom is between 2 and 4 years old. Without teeth, it’s hard to determine a dog’s age.

Freedom was also full of tapeworms and had to be treated. She will be tested for heartworm later this week. If she has it, the shelter will have to hold off treating her until her puppies are weaned in another six weeks or so. The puppies will soon be dewormed as well, once they are a few days older. The white and brown litter has one female and seven males. “We’re hoping people will call in and give us suggestions for names. We’re trying to keep them all patriotic, though,” she said. Varner believes Freedom’s teeth were filed down to prevent her from attacking other dogs when she was forced to breed. “Her teeth are filed too uniformly to say she was a rock chewer or chewed on her kennel,” she said. “Someone had to do that to her.”

Currently, Freedom is being fed a mixture of boneless-skinless chicken breasts and puppy chow to give her more nutrients for feeding the puppies and to help her safely put on weight.

The Rogue Valley Humane Society has established a fund, Truman’s Fund, to help pay the medical bills of some of the most abused animals that come through its doors. The fund is named after a 5-year-old Great Dane that had been severely neglected and needed serious medical care earlier this year. “We can’t save them all, but we can help out some of them,” Varner said. The shelter manager is also disturbed at the number of pit bull mixes that have been dropped at her door in the last few months.

“In the last week alone, we have had three female pit bull mixes dropped off,” she added. Varner said shelter staff continue to work on educating the community and children about animal abuse, hoping to prevent more cases like Freedom. “The way some people treat animals is just not acceptable,” she said. “Freedom already has so many strikes against her. She’s a pit bull and they get a bad rap,” Varner continued. “She will be a special needs dog because of her teeth. I just wonder how much more this dog has to endure. It is just heartbreaking.”


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