For such a dark past, this pit bull mix is sure to have a brighter future, thanks in part to many helpful people along the way.
Munchkin is on the road to recovery after being starved and kept in an Oil City basement and she’s looking for a home — one that will treat her well.
“Considering what she has gone through, she has such a nice personality,” Tri-County Animal Rescue treasurer and dog adoption team member Cindy Bonner said.
Munchkin was removed Oct. 16 from a residence in Oil City pursuant to a search warrant, according to Regina Martin, who has served as Venango County’s volunteer Humane Society police officer. Martin removed Munchkin and two other dogs from the home.
Martin said she was able to secure the warrant when photos of the emaciated pooch were sent to her by concerned citizens. Oil City police helped Martin serve the warrant.
“When I remove animals with a search warrant, I immediately take the animals to a veterinarian for an exam,” Martin said.
“Munchkin weighed 28 pounds and was dehydrated, emaciated, anemic and suffered from a severe parasite infestation,” Martin said. “Munchkin was a 1 on the body scale.”
“In the animal world, we use a body condition scale. That scale goes from 1 to 10. One being severe malnutrition, 5 being ideal and 10 being severely obese,” Martin said.
Martin said this kind of neglect “occurs more often than we like to believe.”
“I pray that before my last breath, the laws will get stricter for animal abuse and neglect,” Martin added.
Munchkin was kept overnight at the vet and intravenous fluids were started, according to Martin. The dog suffered so badly from malnutrition that she could not be given her rabies vaccine, she said.
Munchkin was sent to Tri-County with feeding instructions starting with a 1/4 cup of food, to be increased very slowly and medication for parasites, according to Martin.
That’s when foster mom, Tammy Carulli of Punxsutawney, was called into action. Tri-County sent Munchkin’s photo to Carulli.
Carulli said she thought she had seen some of the worst cases of animal neglect but “there’s always one that is worse,” she said.
Carulli’s employment situation allows her to care for dogs with medical issues and puppies and their mothers. Munchkin was going to need almost round-the-clock care in her emaciated state.
The vet’s instructions called for very small amounts of food six times a day, Carulli said. She said Munchkin was pretty close to organ failure.
When an animal is starved and after they’ve burned through all their fat, they start to burn their organs instead, according to Carulli. Overfeeding an animal in this state can kill them very quickly, Carulli said.
“She was so bad the vet wanted her to have almost nothing,” she said.
Carulli started Munchkin on a diet of puppy food, ground venison and rice.
“This dog screamed for three days. She was so hungry,” Carulli said. “But I couldn’t feed her more.”
Carulli said by the fourth day Munchkin was getting enough food she didn’t feel like she was starving anymore.
She said dogs will gain weight quickly when fed real meat. Bonner said Munchkin gained 12 pounds in two weeks in Carulli’s foster care.
Carulli said she walked Munchkin on two leashes to make sure the pit bull mix didn’t slip away. She said that Munchkin was in real danger of death if left out in the elements for any length of time, especially since there was “no ounce of fat on her.”
Carulli said Munchkin retained a good personality through her recovery.
“She’s very friendly. Even when she was starved, she was not too food aggressive. I could move the food dish around,” Carulli said.
She said Munchkin has a wonderful spirit, however, true to her breed, she is pushy. Carulli recalled that after Munchkin was feeling better she would make her way through baby gates to get to Carulli’s side.
“They are determined to get to you and want to be with you,” Carulli said of the breed.
She said it took about a week and a half before Munchkin seemed interested in anything but eating.
“She was too sick to play,” she said. But soon there was “a little wag of a tail.”
“I hope she finds a home. She is a nice dog,” she said.
And that is exactly what Munchkin is waiting for at Tri-County’s shelter in Shippenville.
Bonner said that back in November Munchkin was topping the scales at 40 pounds. She was spayed on March 17 weighing in at 42.5 pounds. Bonner said it was discovered during her spay procedure that her uterus was distended.
“So perhaps that was causing some of her issues,” she added. “Hopefully she is on her way to a full recovery from her ordeal.”
She’s on grain-free food, but Bonner said she’s happy to have any type of food. Munchkin has had some issues with diarrhea lately, but is otherwise OK, Bonner said. Bonner said Munchkin is still on some medications right now and Tri-County was still working with the veterinarian to determine how long term that will be.
She said Munchkin is up for adoption.
“The court has released her to us. She is ours and we’re trying to find a good home for her,” Bonner said.
She said Munchkin attended Tri-County’s Valentine’s Day event and seemed to get along well with people and children and appeared to tolerate other dogs.
“She doesn’t grab treats. She takes them very nicely,” she said.
People interested in adopting Munchkin may contact Tri-County Animal Rescue Center on Facebook, call (814) 918-2032, or email contactus@Tricounty-arc.org.
Martin added that the male pitbull that was removed with Munchkin is also up for adoption.
And if Munchkin isn’t what your are looking for in a pet, check out these other pooches up for adoption at the shelter.
From old to young, these pups need a home
Harlan is a senior German Shepherd/Husky cross who was found wandering along a country road on a cold winter night in February. So far, no one has come looking for this wise old man who doesn’t ask for much beyond the simple pleasure of a quiet nap in the afternoon sun, and a chance to share the gift of his gentle presence with the person or family who recognizes how really special he is. Harlan’s needs are simple: just a loving home that will give him a soft place to land each and every the day.
Bowie is a Lab mix who was an owner turn-in, then he was returned by his adopter.
Hector and Achilles are two 11-month old Lab/shepherd mixes who were turned in by a woman who rescued their mother who was dropped off and pregnant. She just couldn’t find homes for all of the puppies and could not keep these.
Hector is a hugger; if you spend enough time with him he will lean gently against your leg, or gently press his face up against yours while you quietly tell him how handsome he is. Hector loves to run through the yard and chasing balls. He is a leader and a trusty companion who gives his brother Achilles the courage to step out of his kennel and face their strange, new world.
Achilles moves cautiously, following behind his brother, Hector, who takes the lead and gives Achilles confidence. But when he recognizes your scent, sweet Achilles will stand with his front paws up against the top of his gate, smiling shyly and gently sniffing your face while his tail wags back and forth. Sweet Achilles will need someone with a gentle touch and a soft voice to help him bravely blossom into the beautiful Lab and Shepherd dog that he is.
If you are interested in Harlan, Bowie, Hector or Achilles contact Tri-County Animal Rescue Center on Facebook, call (814) 918-2032, or email contactus@Tricounty-arc.org.
He ain’t nothing but a hound dog, but he still needs home
Rocko, a foxhound/coonhound mix, is a 2-year-old male. He has a short brown and white coat and blue
eyes. Rocko is noisy in the kennel but quiet and content when he’s outside and going for a walk. This is an easy-going, sweet-tempered dog who’ll need exercised every day. A daily long walk or jog on leash will keep Rocko calm and undemanding inside. If he doesn’t get sufficient exercise, he could become frustrated.
This blue-eyed boy will be a great companion to the person who understands his needs. Rocko is available for adoption now at the Venango County Humane Society.
Give a home to Sam and his friend
Sam, a domestic long hair, is an 8-year-old neutered male. He’s a gray and white tabby with a lot of brown in his coat. Sam and Winky were brought to the shelter because their previous owner had to go into a home. Sam is affectionate and very friendly. He’s curious, likes being petted and will follow you anywhere. He’s more outgoing than Winky, but the two are great friends and share a condo. Sam and Winky are looking for a new home at the Venango County Humane Society.
The humane society is located at 286 S. Main St. in Seneca. It is open from noon to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays and holidays.
More information is available by calling (814) 677-4040 or online at venangocountyhumanesociety.org
Give a horse a home
Heavenly Gaits Therapeutic Riding Center in Ninevah is looking for a loving home for one of its therapy horses.
“We have come to a time here at Heavenly Gaits that we knew would happen someday and have not been anxious for it to arrive,” said Monique Nellis, Heavenly Gaits founder and executive director. “It has become necessary for us to re-home one of our therapy horses. With limited funds and barn space, we are only able to house horses that can be utilized within our programs.”
“Desperately needing a new home is Be A Night (aka Ben). He is a 29 years young and is a brown registered quarter horse gelding. Ben spent his entire life as a trail horse before coming to Heavenly Gaits. He has a wonderful collected trot and loves to go,” said Nellis.
“He was a favorite during our summer camps, however, has grown weary of the pacing of therapeutic riding lessons as there is a great deal of stopping and starting,” according to Nellis. “He also does not care for most of the ‘toys’ we use during client lessons.”
“He has recently been vet checked and the vet says that Ben has some good years left. He would be most happy as a trail or companion horse. He is 14.3 hands, has never been shod, trailers well and is up to date on wormers and vaccines,” Nellis said. “He has a swayback that is easily corrected with a full swayback pad. His teeth are smooth which makes hay hard to digest. He does great on pasture but during the winter months diets on sentinel senior feed, hay stretcher and chopped hay.”
“We have struggled with this decision but now that it has been made we need to move quickly,” said Nellis.
If you are interested in helping Ben find a home or know of somebody that may be interest, call Monique at (814) 221-1690.
Horse now has a good home
Jordyn Holland, of Erie, wanted to share a little bit about his horse Copper.
Holland said Copper was a $22,000 winning racehorse that was raced for a while. Copper is 13-years-old. Copper was retired from racing and then he was sent to an auction, Holland said. A man bought him and used him for trail riding, Holland said. So, Copper went to a rescue called Pleasant Valley Stable and that’s when Holland’s family found him.
“My aunt actually rescued him first and then she rehabbed him,” Holland said.
According to Holland, Copper was skin and bones.
“My sister rode him and said Copper preferred men better than women,” Holland said. “So my aunt sold him to me.”
Holland is planning on competing with Copper in 4-H gaming. Holland said Copper is coming along really well.
“He was very nervous when he came here,” Holland said. “I’ve been working with him and I think I’ve fixed him where we both trust each other.”
Animal news briefs
Regina Martin will no longer be serving as a volunteer humane society officer in Venango County due to lack of funding.
Martin said a lot of local and state police don’t have the training or equipment for the humane society officer post.
“And the bottom line is who pays for their (the animals’) care until the owners have their day in court,” she said. “It is a very sad state for the animals in Pennsylvania. Animal lovers can certainly contact their state representatives and find out how they vote on animal issues.”
Below are listed the contact numbers for the state’s dog law officers. Martin said the officers only deal with dogs and primarily handle dog bite cases and check for licensing and rabies vaccinations.
Clarion — Matthew Patrick; (724) 525-6490
Crawford — Ira Custard; (814) 795-5413
Forest — Amy Tyger; (814) 312-5094
Jefferson — Jamie Carlson; (814) 935-1544
For a good cause
Precious Paws Animal Rescue is holding a craft and vendor fair from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at the Seneca Volunteer Fire Department. There are more than 30 vendors signed up. The event includes a bake sale, raffle baskets, 50-50 drawing, pet photos and more. The event benefits Precious Paws’ Spay and Neuter Clinic. More information is available by calling (814) 671-9827 or on the group’s Facebook page.
(All About Animals is a weekly blog that appears on Venangoextra.com and Clarionextra.com. Interested persons or groups can submit information to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the blog is available by contacting Anna Applegate at 814-677-8364.)