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Published: Wednesday, 8/25/2010

Second chance for Sarge

Sarge will get a second chance at life, and perhaps a second chance at having a family. After being shot six times while in a cage, that's the least he deserves.

Lawrence Mick and Adam Collins are accused of taking turns shooting Sarge, Mick's German shepherd, on July 9 while the dog was caged. Mick has pleaded not guilty and Mr. Collins no-contest to several charges, including cruelty to animals. Each has said the other did the shooting.

After Sarge spent about two weeks at the Lucas County dog pound, the Toledo Area Humane Society took possession and ownership of the dog, which proceeded to bite the society's veterinarian and head dog trainer. Previously, Sarge was reported to have bitten both Mick and his girlfriend.

Sarge was evaluated by a team of veterinarians at Ohio State University who determined that he had been too aggressive for too long - perhaps as a result of chronic pain - to allow a family to adopt him. For many dogs, that would be a death sentence. But Sarge got a reprieve when a Utah animal sanctuary agreed to take him.

Soon, Sarge will be on his way to southern Utah, where he will join about 1,700 other animals at Best Friends Animal Society, a no-kill sanctuary for dogs, cats, and others, most of which have special physical or behavioral needs. The hope is that after working with the staff there, he will give up his biting and snapping ways and be adopted out to a new family. If he can't, if the trauma is too great, he will be able to live out the remainder of his life at the sanctuary.

The violence of the attack on a helpless animal in a cage shocked many people. It heightened awareness of the cruelty animals sometimes face, and garnered sympathy for a dog that under other circumstances might have been discarded as incapable of rehabilitation.

As it is, Sarge gets a new start and his alleged attackers face possible fines and jail time. That sounds like justice.



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