A little bit of luck; Abused dogs seized by police on the way to recovery, adoption
Published 11:08 am Thursday, February 18, 2016
People walking through the dog sections at the Mower County Humane Society will be greeted by two happy and healthy faces, even though a few scars remain.
Two dogs, Mickey and Louis, garnered much attention when police seized them Oct. 12, 2015, after they had gotten loose from an Austin home and were brought to the Mower County Humane Society. The 2-year-old dogs came in anemic, full of worms, with infections and untreated wounds — some believed to be from fighting for the small amount of available food. Those issues also caused the dogs’ white blood cell count to lower, which made it difficult for them to fight off infections, leading to abscesses and other issues.
Louis came the shelter weighing around 48 pounds, while Mickey weighed around 38 pounds — both were estimated to be about 15 pounds underweight, which is a lot for their breeds. Louis is believed to be part mastiff, while Mickey is at least half pit bull.
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Since the dogs have been at the shelter, they have put on more than 15 pounds each, bringing them back to an almost normal weight. As possibly part mastiff, Rush believes Louis could gain even more weight and get even bigger.
Though the physical wounds have healed, there’s more work to be done.
“Fixing them up physically is easy,” MCHS Vice President Barry Rush said. “They gained weight rapidly and we fed them, but they still are very much obsessed with food.”
Humane society volunteers believe Mickey and Louis were confined to a basement and garage, but they escaped after the garage door came open due to high winds. The dogs were not fed enough and had to fight each other for the small amount of food they were given. Neighbors spotted the emaciated dogs rummaging through trash for food and reported it to law enforcement.
“The neighbors were all appalled at how emaciated they were,” Rush said.
“It’s just lucky that nature chose a real windy day to blow the garage door open and we were able to save them, because otherwise they would have died,” Rush continued. “They were a step from death. They were walking skeletons. We’ll keep working with them; we never give up.”
The dogs’ former owners, Isaiah and Angel Moser, each pleaded guilty to one charge of misdemeanor animal neglect and one charge of petty misdemeanor animal at large. Two more similar charges were dismissed in both cases. Both Isaiah and Angel received one year of supervised probation with 90 days in Mower County Jail if they fail to follow the conditions set by the court, along with $585 in fines. The two are not allowed to have any other pets, but were allowed to keep one dog and two cats they already have.
Rush was a Minnesota state humane agent for about a decade, which required him to investigate animal cruelty cases in three southern Minnesota counties, but Mickey and Louis were one of the worst cases he’d seen.
Rush described Louis, the bigger of the two, as very personable and good around people. Mickey was a bit more beat up after fighting for food, and he is more skittish and frightened around people.
Both dogs still have some dog-to-dog aggression issues to work on, as they had to fight for food. A local dog trainer has been working with the two, and Louis has made a lot of progress, while Mickey is still having a hard time.
“Sometimes you just have to love them out of that,” Rush said, quoting one of the local vets. “And that means getting in their pen and sitting down and letting the dog [come to you.] Sometimes you’ll sit there for a half hour and finally the dog will start coming over and sniffing around, then you can slowly start to touch them.”
Rush said Mickey isn’t taking well to shelter life, either, with all the other dog noises and the high stress environment. Volunteers may send Mickey to a foster home to see how he does in a more relaxed environment.
Though the physical wounds have healed, Mickey and Louis will need to find the right people to adopt them. Rush explained dogs with troubled pasts have a harder time being adopted, as they take time, patience and a lot of work. Rush hopes Mickey and Louis will be ready for adoption within the next six months to a year.
Rush gave the example of Duke, a dog the shelter got in 2010, but nobody thought he would get adopted due to his aggression issues. Yet Duke went to his permanent home recently, and Rush has high hopes for Mickey and Louis.
“We just had to find the right people,” he said. “I think every dog we have here — and every cat we have here — has got a chance at a home if we can find the right people who will take the time to work with them, and to love them.”