Cola, abandoned for a year in a houseSome of you may remember Cola, the pitbull that was left abandoned in a house at 3405 N. Michigan, Saginaw, MI for more than a year after his owner, Jaime S. McGregor, moved out and left him.

In April 2008, after more than a year of neighbor complaints, including a picket, Saginaw County Animal Care Center along with Carrollton Township Police, Cola was finally rescued from his prison. Dehydrated and emaciated, he was taken to Saginaw County Animal Care Center where he was fed and cared for.

You’d think things would have started looking up for this poor dog now but no suck luck! You see, the Saginaw Animal Care Center doesn’t adopt out pitbulls and if McGregor were found guilty of the animal cruelty charges, there was little chance he would get Cola back.

Oddly enough, after leaving the dog abandoned for more than a year, McGregor actually said he wanted Cola back and even visited him weekly, which was more than he did for the year the dog after he left him at the house.

McGregor pleaded no contest to the charges and District Judge Christopher S. Boyd ordered him to pay more than $1,000 in fines and restitution, $240 in fines and court costs and $883 in restitution to the Animal Care Center or spend 90 days in jail. McGregor, who chose not to address the judge or court when given the chance, doesn’t plan to appeal the sentence. When asked if he still wanted Cola back, his lawyer, David D. Hoffman, said that he believed McGregor did.

In May, after Cola had been at Animal Care for a month, numerous animal rescue groups and individual pleaded for a reprieve for the dog but word came down then that McGregor failed to regain custody of his dog, responsibility for Cola will fall upon the Animal Care Center, where staff likely will euthanize the dog.

“Circumstances being what they are in Saginaw (regarding pit bull fighting), we don’t want to open a Pandora’s box” by adopting out Cola, then Animal Care Director, Mark A. Wachner said.

Now it looks like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel for Cola!

Cola could end up in a refuge in Van Buren Township.

Former Animal Care Center Director Mark A. Wachner said he expects to ask the judge to transfer the black and white terrier to the Buster Foundation.

Such a decision wouldn’t violate the Care Center’s policy “because it’s a judge’s order to do so,” said Wachner, who has served as a consultant to the county since his June retirement. “Personally, putting (the dog) down is not my goal.”

Richard C. Angelo Jr., a Bloomfield Township lawyer representing the animal law section of the state bar, said he suggested that Saginaw County authorities send the canine to the Buster Foundation or the Colorado Pit Bull Rescue near Denver, Colo.

Angelo attended McGregor’s sentencing but did not address the judge.

“We wanted to see if we could avoid (having the dog) euthanized,” Angelo said.

I read and follow so many stories and they all touch me to one degree or another but every now and then, one really get to me and this is one of those. After all that poor dog endured, just the thought that his only end would be death, it was just devastating! Although I think McGregor got off way too lightly, my biggest concern has been for Cola, an innocent dog who didn’t deserve the fate he’d been dealt and because of his breed may have been dealt an even more ominous fate.

I wish they could all be saved and rescued but right now that isn’t going to happen but for every one that can be saved, it matters! And every well publicized case brings more attention to the plight of all dogs in such desperate need in shelters everywhere.

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