MENTOR, Ohio — The Lake Humane Society is no stranger to helping four-legged friends in need—but now they're turning to the public to help raise funds to help care for a two-month old golden retriever that is believed to have been abused, which caused serious injuries.
Just a few days after Christmas, on Dec. 29, Eastlake police responded to a call from a good Samaritan who had reported an incident of alleged animal abuse. Officers arrived to a home and found a puppy lying outside, motionless. The puppy was unable to stand up and had an obvious leg injury, so officers seized him and immediately took him to Lake Humane Society.
"When he did get here, obviously he was very depressed, very sad, wasn't moving. We knew immediately that something was wrong with his legs," said Megan Newkirk, Director of Shelter Operations at Lake Humane Society.
The shelter began evaluating the puppy, that they later named Hotch, and determined he had a shattered femur. Lake Humane believes the injuries came from blunt force trauma to the leg, which was reported by an eye witness.
"It's awful. We see some bad things, obviously, but seeing somebody do something like that to a puppy is always rough. We take it seriously for every animal. That's why he immediately got sent for X-rays and then got his leg repaired the same day, because we don't want them to suffer and know that we can help and wanted to help. So that's what we did," said Newkirk.
The injuries to Hotch's leg were so severe they required immediate surgery to place a metal plate to repair the femur. Hotch will need radiographs every two weeks to check on the status of his femur and then another surgery to remove the metal plate once it is fully healed. His recovery is expected to take four to six weeks.
While Hotch is healing now with a foster family, Lake Humane Society is asking the public for help, seeking donations to its Angel Fund, which was created to help rescues with serious medical injuries get the care they need.
"Some things we can take care of in-house with our veterinarian. Other things are much more major and require a lot of money, so we created the Angel Fund. So everybody's donations goes towards that, any money that's raised for Hotch will specifically be used for him," Newkirk said. "If we raise enough money and we and we have extra, we will keep that in the Angel Fund. And that money is strictly used for animals in the future that need extra medical expenses."
Other donations received by the shelter go to help house, feed and care for other animals at the shelter. Right now, Lake Humane is caring for 82 animals—from cats and dogs to guinea pigs and rabbits—all waiting to find their forever home. Donations from the public help care for the critters until they find that home.
The shelter cares for so many partially because it is the only place in Lake County that accepts owner surrenders, taking in unwanted pets. That's another reason what happened to Hotch was so devastating to the shelter.
"Before you get an animal, think about it and know that they require a lot more than just the adoption fee. They require medical care. They require you to take care of them every day," If you are in need of help, we're here. We are the only place in Lake County that does owner surrenders i you're in over your head calling us, wanting to surrender your animal. We do offer other services too, to help people that maybe are in over their heads."
That includes wellness clinics and low cost vaccines, low cost spays and neuters, pet food pantries and other resources provided by the shelter.
Lake Humane Society hopes that sharing the resources they offer may prevent future abuse like they believe happened to Hotch from happening to other animals.
In the meantime, Hotch is learning what it's like to be loved again in his foster home while he heals. He can't move too much while his leg strengthens, but his puppy energy and playful spirit is starting to come out. He won't be able to be placed in a forever home until his case of alleged abuse is closed, but once that's up he'll be up for adoption and looking to find a new loving family.
Newkirk and her staff at Lake Humane Society are anxiously awaiting that day.
"I have great hopes for him. I can't wait to see him run. The entire the entire team can't wait for that day where he's released into being able to be a full blown puppy," Newkirk said.
For those interested in donating to the Angel Fund to help Hotch and other animals with serious injuries, click here.
To learn more about Lake Humane Society and animals available for adoption, click here.
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