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Monday, Jun 27, 2011County: York
Case Images: 2 files available
Suspect(s) Unknown - We need your help!
The York County SPCA's executive director can't fathom why no one alerted authorities that a pit bull was being starved to death.
"More people should have cared about her. All of us have a responsibility to do the right thing when it comes to a situation like this," Melissa Smith said. "It's rare when this happens that no one knows it's happening. ... People knew this dog was starving."
The future is still uncertain for the 3- to 4-year-old pit bull, found dumped in York City's Bantz Park on Monday evening, Smith said. SPCA staffers have named her Ava.
"This dog was so near death and, honestly, she still is," Smith said. "(Tuesday) night, I was really worried about her. She was just so listless. ... But (Wednesday) morning, she was sitting up, bright and alert, wagging her tail and happy to see us. ... So today is a hopeful day."
Still, Smith said, Ava's condition is touch-and-go.
"Has it gone too far? Has it affected her organs? I guess time will tell," she said. "You never know how far is too far gone."
Anguished eyes: Smith is trying to be optimistic about Ava's chances.
"She has very telling eyes," she said on Wednesday. "Yesterday I saw fear and anguish, but today I saw a little glimmer of hope -- and of recognition. There was a tail wag, and she was as happy to see us today as we were to see her."
Ava weighs 27 pounds, primarily skin and bones. She's also suffering from significant pressure sores.
"If I were to speculate, I would say they're probably from her being confined to a crate or a cement basement," Smith said. "We feel very strongly this dog was confined somewhere. Someone was purposely neglecting to give this dog water and sustenance."
It would have taken weeks for Ava's body to wither to this point, according to Smith -- weeks of what amounted to torture for the dog.
Smith said Ava's former owner is facing misdemeanor animal-cruelty charges, and urged anyone with information about the case to call the SPCA.
"All complaints are treated as anonymous here," she said. "A lot of times I think people don't report (abuse) because of fear. The way people retaliate these days? I can understand that fear."
2 dogs, 1 park: Ava was found at the southeast end of Bantz Park, near the intersection of West College and Belvidere avenues, Smith said. It's the same park where, in January 2010, a fifth-grade girl found and saved a badly abused dog that had been thrown in a trash can.
In Ava's case, a woman saw her in the park and notified authorities. Ava was eventually taken to the Animal Emergency Clinic, then transferred to the SPCA shelter, Smith said.
"Whoever was responsible for getting help for this dog literally saved her life," Smith said. "She was very close to death ... and probably would've died if she had gone 24 more hours without care.
"This dog did not get up on Monday evening and run away from home -- she could barely walk," Smith said. "So I believe she was dumped in Bantz Park."
Never gets easier: Seeing dogs as badly neglected as Ava never gets easier, according to Smith.
"Every time we get a case like this, we think we can't be surprised anymore by what we see," she said. "But we are still shocked by the cold and callous behavior we see."
Ava's former owner could have dropped her off at the SPCA's Emigsville shelter, rather than starve her, Smith said.
If Ava can physically recover, and if her temperament remains good, she could be ready to be adopted in as little as three months, according to Smith.
"Right now, Ava seems very sweet," she said.
Anyone with information about who owned Ava -- and allowed her to nearly starve to death -- is urged to call Nicole Boyer, animal humane officer for the York County SPCA. Reach her at 764-6109, ext. 127. To make a donation or learn more about the SPCA, click here
If you have information on this case, please contact:
764-6109, ext. 127
- yorkdispatch.com - Jul 1, 2011
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