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Tuesday, Nov 14, 2006County: Kent
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
Cookie and cocaine didn't mix.
The dog, who turns 2 on Valentine's Day, nearly died from exposure to the drug, animal control officers and veterinarians say. She is safe now, but her prognosis isn't good.
"There obviously was something neurologically wrong with this dog," said Matt Pepper, animal control officer supervisor with the Kent County Animal Shelter. "It was horribly sad to watch."
She now has a loving home, but the cocaine wreaked havoc on her nervous system, and her condition continues to deteriorate. Pepper and veterinarians said it was unclear whether cocaine was given to the dog or if she found it. Tests showed cocaine in the dog's urine, though the amount ingested could not be determined.
"She's losing muscle tone even though she's eating," said her new owner, a 30-year-old Plainfield Township woman who didn't want her name published. She and her husband fear Cookie's former owner, who was convicted of failure to provide adequate care to an animal, is looking for the dog.
"She still tries to be protective," she said. "She doesn't know she can't do anything."
When animal control officers showed up at a Southwest Side Grand Rapids home in November 2006, Cookie wandered outside and could barely walk, Pepper said. She had no stability and shook uncontrollably.
Pepper said Cookie's case has prompted animal control officers to re-explore past cases and keep their eyes open to the possibility of drug exposure. A kitten that was brought to the Humane Society of Kent County in December after its ears were severed had methamphetamine in its system, he said.
Cookie's original name was "Cocaine III," the owner's third dog with the same moniker.
"When I first saw her, she was in the animal shelter, and she was lying in the cage on her chest," said Joan Koelzer, a veterinarian who contracts with the shelter. "She didn't have the strength to lift her head."
"She looked like she had no energy whatsoever, yet she wagged her tail when I said 'Hi' to her. Then I thought, 'This dog is going to make it. She has the spirit.'"
Cookie's vet bill came in just under $3,500. The county picked up the tab when Koelzer assured officials she had a chance. Her former owner has been ordered to pay restitution.
"I don't think she would've lasted more than a day or two at the shelter if she didn't get some drastic care," Koelzer said. "She was a puppy, and puppies don't act like little people with Parkinson's Disease."
Due to incontinence, the dog wears a diaper. She is thin at 27 pounds -- typically healthy females weigh 30 to 40 pounds -- and does a sort of army crawl to move.
Her bark sounds more like a whisper. The prognosis isn't good, Koelzer said.
"We knew she wouldn't live long with what had happened to her," she said.
The dog's former owner was sentenced in May in 63rd District Court to one year's probation, with no animal ownership, and ordered to pay $3,462.78 in restitution for Cookie's vet bills.
Cookie now spends her days with her new owners' two Gordon setters who jump and play around her. She shakes her head and licks their faces occasionally, but she cannot keep up.
"If Cookie could say anything, I guess she would say, 'Don't do drugs,'" the woman owner said.
|Veterinarian Joan Koelzer said she wants to believe Cookie -- a young dog poisoned by cocaine -- is in heaven frolicking with other dogs.|
The 2-year-old mixed breed was put down earlier this month after experiencing breathing problems, her owners said. The dog recently was honored with a Michigan Veterinary Medical Association Companion Animal of the Year Award.
"I cried and cried and cried," Koelzer said after Cookie died. She helped nurse the thin animal to health when Kent County Animal Control officers brought her, weak and shaking, to the shelter in 2006. The dog was seized from a Southwest Side home, where her owner called it Cocaine III.
Once in the shelter, staff determined the dog had ingested the drug, but it was unclear whether it was given to her or she found it.
Koelzer said Cookie's symptoms were consistent with aspiration pneumonia, a condition caused by inhaling food or other substances into the lungs.
Cookie's most recent owners were a Plainfield Township couple who asked not to be identified.
"She was like our child," said the female owner.
|Source: Grand Rapids Press - March 26, 2008|
Update posted on Mar 26, 2008 - 2:13PM
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