DJ Becker/The Madera Tribune
Stevie, a starved, 8-month-old German shepherd mix, standing for TV crews in front of the Madera County Animal Shelter Wednesday afternoon.
An emaciated, roughly 8-month-old German shepherd mix puppy was found abandoned along Avenue 15, near Road 31 in the north Madera area Tuesday afternoon with a tight canvas collar deeply embedded into the flesh of his neck, according to Madera County Animal Services director Kirsten Gross.
The young dog, now named Stevie, was found by a passing motorist just in time, Gross said.
He was immediately taken to a veterinarian for evaluation and treatment.” He’s about 30 pounds, and he should be 45 to 50 pounds at this age.” Gross said. “His hips and backbone are protruding, and his leg joints have not developed properly. He is just skin and bones, under that hair. He also has only about 50 percent of his eyesight due to the severe malnutrition and that will probably not completely recover,” Gross said. “But he’s young and strong... on antibiotics, so he’s got a good chance to do well, in a good home.”
It took months of neglect and or intermittent feeding, Gross said, for the young dog to become this emaciated and for the collar to cut this deep into his flesh. It took many stitches to close the wound under and all the way around his throat.
Authorities are asking for the public’s help in locating the owner or owners of the animal.
“I know someone has seen or knows this dog, and where he came from. We are hoping that person will come forward and assist us in locating the owner or owners of this animal.” Gross said.
The shelter receives many young, stray unaltered German shepherd and husky mixes because they are very smart and so difficult to contain, Gross said.
“It’s also not uncommon for people to get large-breed dogs as cute or ‘free’ puppies and not really understand that they quickly grow into large, smart and athletic dogs that need to have daily exercise, training and human companionship. Animals need to be fed and cared for. They are not disposable,”
Spaying or neutering a young animal can prevent a lot of the problem behaviors like escaping, roaming, fighting, barking and marking territory, as it eliminates the powerful reproductive hormones, she said.
“Instead this young, friendly, happy dog was probably tied up for months, ignored, tormented and neglected until he almost died from starvation. Then he was likely dumped along Avenue 15 when they (finally) discovered the serious wound from the collar,” she said.
It’s also about education and intervention according to Gross.
“Animal cruelty is often a first step in human domestic abuse and much worse. So it’s also important to pay attention to animal abuse because of those correlations,” she said.
The dog could have come from the immediate surrounding farming area, or could have been tied and neglected in a backyard in the City of Madera, according to Gross. “We are hoping to figure that out. He’s friendly and very used to people, so he’s not been running loose (as a) feral.”
Stevie will be put up for adoption to an experienced and understanding home, if and when he recovers. “ Right now he still has a ways to go before he can be adopted, but in spite of all his mistreatment and injuries he still loves people,” Gross said.
The Friends of Madera Animal Shelter volunteer group (FMAS) is offering a $1,000 cash reward for any information leading to an arrest and a conviction in this or any crime involving felony animal cruelty. Please call Madera County 311 or 675-7891 with information on the dog’s owner or owners. The volunteer group is also raising funds to cover his surgery and continuing medical treatment. Donations can be made at http://www.fmas.info/, dropped off at the shelter or mailed to P.O. Box 923, Madera, CA 93638.