Dr. Brooke West sits with June, the German shepherd that was taken to Lucas County Canine Care & Control after being shot in the leg last month. Dr. West amputated June’s front right leg at West Toledo Animal Hospital. Planned Pethood has arranged for a foster family to help the dog recover.
While Toledo police continue to search for her abuser, a German shepherd went to a foster home Monday with a local animal-rescue group after having a front leg amputated last week.
June, a stray from East Toledo, was shot in the right shoulder in broad daylight just before noon on March 24. She was seen resting on a porch in the 900 block of Clark Street before the incident. The bullet struck her humerus bone and ricocheted down to the radius, shattering that bone too.
“There was a lot of damage to the bone, to the surrounding muscle, to everything in there,” said Dr. Brooke West of West Toledo Animal Hospital, who performed the surgery Friday. “We were able to get the bullet out for evidence.”
Toledo police have obtained warrants for 25-year-old Marcus L. Crawford of 841 Lucas St., who police believe is responsible for June’s injuries. He faces one count each of cruelty to animals, discharging a firearm, having a weapon under disability, and carrying a concealed weapon.
Created in November, 2012, Cutie's Fund has raised more than $71,000 and helped more than 80 dogs with a wide variety of problems such as broken bones, embedded collars, heartworm, hip dysplasia, severe wounds, emaciation, and extreme illness.
The fund’s namesake was a Chihuahua brought in during the middle of the night with a dead puppy lodged in its birth canal. The bill for treatment was more than $1,400.
The first $5,000 in public donations was matched by Block Communications Inc., parent company of The Blade. The fund was seeded with a $5,000 donation from John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade, and Allan Block, chairman of Block Communications.
Donations to Cutie’s Fund are tax-deductible and may be made in person or mailed to Lucas County Canine Care & Control, 410 S. Erie St., Toledo, OH, 43604, or online at lucascountydogs.com/ donate/ cuties-fund. Checks should be made payable to Lucas County Canine Care & Control with “Cutie’s Fund” specified on the memo line.
“We’re receiving some feedback about him, but at this point, we haven’t taken him into custody,” Sgt. Kevin Braun said. “It’s just a matter of time until we find him.”
June was first evaluated at an emergency veterinary clinic and then transferred to the Lucas County Canine Care & Control while waiting for a rescue group and for her surgery. Her initial medical treatment and amputation surgery have been paid for with Cutie’s Fund, created to help dogs at the county shelter with high-cost medical needs.
Julie Lyle, the county shelter’s director, said the total cost of the dog’s medical care is not yet known, but the amputation surgery was quoted at $800 to $1,200.
Planned Pethood picked up June Monday evening. She will be in a foster home for several months recovering from the amputation and being socialized. The group has special equipment to help June, like slings to support her shoulders as she moves around. A mattress from a baby crib will be her bed.
“There will be drainage from the incision and the wound site, and a baby crib mattress allows you to sanitize the area,” Nikki Morey, executive director, said. “It’s low to the ground and it’s not too plush, so that she can get some traction to stand up.”
Planned Pethood has cared for a number of amputees over the years, Ms. Morey said. Being a three-legged dog shouldn’t be a big stumbling block in getting June adopted once she has recovered fully. The public’s interest in her case doesn’t hurt either.
“We have an overwhelming amount of people who are interested in adopting out dogs that are in the news,” Ms. Morey said. “It shouldn’t be difficult to adopt out an animal like that.”
Dr. West said in addition to the shattered bone and significant swelling, some of the muscle in June’s leg had died, causing her a lot of pain. Once the leg was removed, the black-and-tan dog felt so much better that she was already getting up and moving around the next day.
“She’s a tough girl,” Dr. West said. “She is up and moving and using the remaining leg. She’s happy as can be.”
June will learn how to compensate for her missing leg and use her remaining front leg for balance. She will undergo some physical therapy to help build muscle in that leg.
“The leg becomes stronger and is able to take on more of the load,” Dr. West said. “Dogs do really well on three legs.”
Ms. Morey said June might have some trouble with arthritis later on, but Dr. West said that shouldn’t be any more than usual for large-breed dogs like German shepherds.
“She is expected to have a full recovery and go on to do great things,” Dr. West said. “She should live a normal, happy life.”