A young pit bull now named Lila is living happily ever after with the vet tech who helped nurse her back to health. In addition a little justice has been served because Edwin Saunders, the person who abandoned and starved Lila has been sentenced to 60 days in a Michigan jail.
Yesterday Saunders pleaded guilty to one count of animal cruelty and one count of animal abandonment. Besides the 60 days in jail, Saunders must pay $2800 in restitution to Animal Care in Fairfield for veterinary expenses incurred to slowly bring Lila back to health and a $750 fine. He is banned from owning a dog or living with a dog during a two-year probation period.
Last December, the Animal Care Center in Fairfield rescued the emaciated and sick female pit bull found abandoned at Hamilton Park. At the time she weighed only 19 pounds. Her feet were badly infected from constantly standing in a cage filled with urine and feces.
Saunders claimed he could no longer take care of the dog who he had previously named Audrey. He said he left her in the park with her blanket, collar and leash and waited for someone to pick her up.
Abandonment is never acceptable. According to About.com.dogs responsible dog owners do not just give up or abandon their dogs when it is inconvenient. Only the most irresponsible owners will leave pets to fend for themselves.
Here are the most frequent reasons and solutions pet owners should consider before giving up their pets:
- Spend extra time finding a place that accepts pets if you are moving. Negotiate with your landlord by offering a pet deposit.
- Health and behavioral issues of your pets need to be responsibly handled. Find a way to manage your pet’s health problems. Prevent many health issues by taking your pet for regular veterinary exams and practice good health habits with exercise and proper nutrition. Find a dog trainer for behavioral issues or educate yourself by researching the particular problem your dog displays.
- If you are having a baby, properly train and practice with your dog respect for children. Teach children to respect all animals and to never mistreat or tease a dog.
- If you state you cannot afford your dog any longer, budget your pet’s expenses and figure out a way you can care for your dog by adjusting your expenses. For instance, one less Starbuck’s designer coffee a week could probably buy Fido’s food. Think about your dog first.
- If you have an illness and have trouble caring for your dog, reach out to community resources. Contact a rescue group. Many organizations can help with volunteers who come to your home and help care for your pet. Most likely your pet is a comfort to you during a time of illness.
- Exercise all options before you turn your dog over to the shelter. As a last resort check for “no-kill” shelters, and do your research carefully. Many shelters are so overcrowded over 50 percent of dogs brought in or surrendered are euthanized.
- If you need someone to give your pet a new home, consider writing out a complete and honest description of your pet and market it to friends, relatives, and neighbors. Do not ever list your pet, “free to a good home” on Craig’s List or in any publication without personally checking out the applicant and their homes. Remember too many dogs wind up in laboratories or as “bait dogs” in the egregious illegal sport of dog fighting.
- Contact animal rescue groups and breed specific groups to help you find a proper home for your pet.