Princess, Dead Dog Walking
Update 10/18/08 – Princess’ Legacy
See Update – Dignity in Death and No Justice
Up to now it’s obvious that there’s been no ‘royal’ treatment for Princess in her life. Found starved near to death, locked in a kennel, weighing only 75 lbs, half what she should weigh, Princess more closely resembles a concentration camp victim.
In this heart breaking story out of Knoxville, a neighbor called Knox County Animal Control after spotting the female Great Dane in a kennel while working on his roof.
The dog was seized by animal control who said the dog could barely stand, it had sores on its hindquarters where it hadn’t moved, and they could count every notch on its spine from the base of its neck to the tip of its tail. There is also a huge swelling on its front leg that they don’t know what it is yet.
Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter manager Amy young was initially called to put the pathetic dog down by Animal Control Officer Carl Bolton because of the severely deteriorated condition she was in but she couldn’t do it.
“We took the euthanasia solution with us, and just couldn’t do it,” Young said. When Young and Blankenship arrived, the dog was so sweet natured and loving, “It was all she could do to wag her tail.”
“She was trying to stand up and couldn’t, so she used every last bit of energy to wag her tail and at point that was it she had me,” Young said.
The dog’s owner is currently in rehab and the owner’s aunt was supposed to have been feeding her. The dog has been starved for months but right next to her kennel in a covered trash can were bags of dog food meant to feed her.
As for the people that did this, Animal Control Officer Carl Bolton promises action, soon. He expects to serve warrants no later than next week.
“This is like a dead dog walking,” said shelter employee Rosemary Blankenship.
Thanks to the heart of the shelter manager and workers, it looks like Princess may have a second chance.
The dog — which neighbors said was named “Princess” — was taken to a veterinarian Tuesday. The vet said the dog’s willingness to eat was a good sign of its chances of recovery, and it should be fed a hardy meal of chicken, white rice or small canned potatoes every hour. Young is taking the dog home to care for it, and a full recovery could take up to six months, she said.
The dog also has a large swelling around its left forearm, but doctors weren’t sure of the cause. Young said it could be a break that didn’t heal, or it could be bone cancer, and Princess may need an amputation. An X-ray on the swelling could be done after the dog gains weight, Young said.
The Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter is seeking donations of food — white minute rice and chicken broth — and blankets, since Princess’ wound will require changing of sheets. To help, contact the shelter at 526-6925 or visit www.kwasonline.com.
Even if the caregivers were cited for cruelty or neglect, current Kentucky laws would make it only a misdemeanor. A proposed bill known as “Romeo’s Law,” named after a beaten Pulaski County dog, would make dog or cat torture a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years in prison. It has passed the Senate and House Judiciary Committee and is waiting to be voted on by the full House. (The Times Tribune)
This is just one more reason that we need to have stronger laws passed and passed ASAP! No one should be able to get away with doing something like this to any living creature! If the neighbor had not seen this dog she would have died in that kennel and if not for the goodness of those in the shelter, she would have been put down without knowing the love she so deserves to have.
Sadly, on June 18th, Princess had to be euthanized. The cancer that was in her legs had spread to her lungs. Doctors had amputated the leg to try to stop the spread of the disease and for a while she was doing well, even gaining quite a bit of weight.
She was given a dignity in her death that she was never given in her life and kindness in her last couple of months.
On August 21, 39-year-old Virgil Whitaker of Knox County, pleaded guilty to second-degree animal cruelty charges. Whitaker was sentenced to 90 days of home incarceration with a 12-month probated sentence. He will be put under a two-year probation and will face regular drug testing. If Whitaker is found guilty of any crime, including a misdemeanor, he could serve the 12-month sentence in jail.
“It’s one of the few, if not the first, convictions that’s happened in Knox County for abuse of a dog,” said Knox County Animal Control Officer and Constable Carl Bolton. “I’m tickled with what we got. It’s a start.”
But not everyone was pleased that Whitaker could avoid any jail time.
“I am very disappointed in the Knox County court system,” said Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter Manager Amy Young. “I feel like they let the dog down, and us down, and all the people who cared for her, all the people who came out to support her. I think I can say on behalf of them that we are all disappointed.
“It just bothers me that this guy can get up off his couch and get something to drink whenever he wants,” she said. “If he were in jail, he’d have to ask for it.”
Unfortunately for Princess, Whitaker was charged with animal cruelty about a month before Romeo’s Law took effect, which made animal cruelty charges a felony in Kentucky. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just another ‘slap on the wrist’ sentence but I guess we have to be thankful that it is something….
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