Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18936
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Sunday, May 8, 2011

County: Putnam

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: William E. Collins

In May, Putnam County's chief humane officer got a call from someone who'd spotted a dog in the window of an abandoned trailer in Hurricane.

After investigating, Jon Davis discovered a 2-year-old hound-mix alone in the mobile home without food or water.

"We found out the power had been turned off in April, and we didn't find [the dog] until a month later," Davis said. "He was about 25 to 30 pounds underweight ... he was starving to death."

Davis said there was evidence that a cat had also been abandoned in the trailer.

"He had eaten the cat to survive," Davis said.

The dog's former owner, William E. Collins, 59, of Nitro, was convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty in Nitro and sentenced to 30 days in jail. Davis said the pet owner's excuse in court was that he had simply forgotten about the dog.

Collins said on Thursday, "I was at fault and I paid for it. That's all I want to say about it."

The animal shelter staff named the dog Buddy, and he quickly became a favorite.

Buddy was emaciated and had intestinal parasites when he was found. Now, he's about 50 pounds -- about three pounds overweight, Davis said.

"I just don't think it's fair that he's been caged here like he's the one in trouble when he's the innocent one," Davis said. "Buddy has done more time than his owner did."

According to state law, anyone found guilty of, among other things, abandoning an animal, is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $300 nor more than $2,000 or confined in jail not more than six months, or both.

Mike Baughman, who has worked at the Putnam animal shelter for 20 years, said he remembers when Buddy was first brought to the facility.

"A lot of [dogs] come in and we get really attached to them, but they never really recover that zest for life that dogs tend to have, and Buddy has - he's just a happy dog," Baughman said.

Buddy gets along well with other dogs in the shelter, and even the other cats, Davis said.

"I'd really like to see him get a good home for the holidays. I've considered taking him home myself if I can't find someone else willing to adopt him, but I already have two dogs," he said.

Davis said because finding Buddy a home is so important, he would waive the fees usually associated with adoption.

"Someone would just need to leave a $50 deposit and they'd get it back after they have him neutered," Davis said. "He's already had all of his vaccines and is healthy and ready to go."

The Putnam County Animal Relief Center doesn't have a set amount of days they will keep animals before they put them down, but Davis said Buddy has been there longer than most.

"We don't have a set time on anything, but I've held off longer than I probably should," he said.

Although Baughman said he'd be sad to see Buddy leave, [the shelter] is kind of like being in jail.

"He needs to be able to get out and really run and have somebody," Baughman said. "He would probably do best in a rural setting or with someone who has a good size yard."

To adopt Buddy, call the Putnam County Animal Relief Center at 304-586-0249.

References

« WV State Animal Cruelty Map
« More cases in Putnam County, WV

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