AKRON, Ohio — Several instances of dogs found abandoned and in poor health in Summit County recently are prompting a message of caution from animal advocates. They warn feeding an emaciated animal can do more harm than good.
Sunday, a volunteer with Akron-based nonprofit Pay it Forward for Pets discovered a young shepherd mix wandering in the southeast side of the city, visibly malnourished and in need of medical attention. One day later, the same volunteer found a pair of hound mix puppies in the same neighborhood in similar shape.
“They were actually chained together at the neck in the same, exact condition, emaciated and in-need of medical attention immediately,” said Georjette Thomas, the founder of Pay it Forward for Pets.
Thomas explained a well-intentioned Samaritan gave one of the dogs food before the rescue took it into its care. The overload of nutrition in the malnourished state was causing it distress.
“The main thing people probably want to do is stop at the McDonald’s and grab a hamburger because they want to feel good about the situation too. But it’s the worst thing you can do. They need to be fed under the guidance of a veterinarian,” Thomas said.
All three dogs were turned over to the Humane Society of Summit County for medical care, where staff said their condition is improving.
“They are put on a special feeding program,” said Kristin Branagan, the organization’s director of operations, about the emaciated dogs surrendered to the facility. “A lot of people think the first thing you want to do is just bulk them up and give them tons of food, unfortunately. That’s not the way to do it. They can get a lot of complications with their bodies not used to that.”
Branagan showed News 5 Salamander, a terrier/American pit bull mix, who came to the shelter severely underweight. Within a month, the 2-year-old dog recovered with proper vetting.
“She came in weighing only about 22 pounds and currently she weighs almost 45. She’s now in excellent health, just looking for her forever family and she is officially up for adoption,” Branagan said.
Earlier this week, News 5 shared a story about a group of dogs and puppies with a similarly successful recovery. Branagan now says all 18 dogs found abandoned in deplorable conditions in Akron have pending adoptions.
The Humane Society of Summit County does not believe the recent cases are connected. The organization and other animal advocates hope to educate the public about available resources.
“If you’re finding that you want to keep your pet in your home, but are lacking resources, there are tools out there to help you do that,” Branagan said, explaining pet owners can find discount medical care, pet food pantries and other assistance to make owning a pet more affordable.
Thomas added, “Turning them out onto the street is never the right way. And you just have to do the work and make the calls and ask for people to help. There will be people to help.”
To report a lost or found dog to the Humane Society of Summit County, call 330-487-0333, option 3.
If you need to surrender your animal, contact the HSSC Owner Surrender line at 330-487-0333, option 2 or email email@example.com. You can also fill out an online form by clicking on this link.
You can receive behavioral support from HSSC by calling 234-212-9843 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find a list of pet food supply partners here: https://www.summithumane.org/petfood