Thursday, Mar 22, 2018
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Animal cruelty charge filed in case of emaciated dog

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    Stephen Heaven, president and CEO of Toledo Area Humane Society, sits Thursday with Hope, a German shepherd dog. TAHS has filed animal cruelty charges relating to this case.

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    In this file photo, Hope, a stray, malnurished adult German shepherd, is in recovery at the Toledo Humane Society in Maumee. Hope was originally surrendered to Lucas County Canine & Control.

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A German shepherd is making progress on a long road to recovery while an East Toledo man is now facing an animal cruelty charge.

Dennis Pedelose, 45, of the 800 block of Kingston Avenue, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Toledo Municipal Court to misdemeanor animal cruelty. He is to reappear for a pretrial hearing March 1.

Stephen Heaven, president and chief executive of the Toledo Area Humane Society, said two anonymous tips connected Mr. Pedelose to the shepherd, now called Hope. One of the tipsters came forward last week and provided solid information that the first tip supports.

“We had somebody that knew the dog personally, has pictures of the dog,” he said. “It was a definite match.”

WATCH: Toledo Area Humane Society provides update on Hope

Mr. Pedelose could not be reached for comment. His father, Robert Pedelose, had surrendered Hope to the Lucas County Canine Care & Control on Jan. 25 as a stray, saying he found the dog on his son’s front porch. On Thursday, he denied Hope was either his or his son’s dog.

“We never had her,” he said. Dennis Pedelose “never lived there with her.”

The humane society contends there was no way the shepherd could have been wandering the neighborhood or climbed onto a porch. It’s also unlikely she would have survived winter temperatures if she had been outside.

Hope was nearly dead when she was turned in. She was emaciated at just 42 pounds, unable to get up or walk, and nearly bald from fleas and skin infections. Her curled toenails were more than 2 inches long and her ears were severely infected.

Since arriving at the humane society Jan. 26, she has gained 12 pounds and is much stronger. She needs to gain more weight and rebuild muscle to reach a healthy weight of 60 to 70 pounds.

She can also walk now, but still struggles with her rear legs.

“She drags you outside but she gets tired pretty quickly in the back end and starts to wobble,” said Dr. Anna Brown, the shelter’s veterinarian.

The shelter hasn’t determined if the issues with her hind end were caused by neglect or if there are underlying congenital or neurological issues. Either way, there was no excuse for her deplorable condition, Mr. Heaven said.

“It’s severe neglect. I don’t think you can doubt that,” he said. “That dog has taken weeks and months to get into that condition.”

An anonymous witness gave the humane society photos showing Hope when she was healthy.

“We saw the pictures of what she used to look like and she was beautiful,” Dr. Brown said. “It’s shocking to see how she used to look and know that she got to this point.”

The shelter is continuing to work with the dog and she has recovered enough that she will soon be sent to a foster home.

“Because she can walk now and isn’t so much in nursing care, she’s going to go to a foster to gain weight and get stronger,” Dr. Brown said.

Mr. Heaven said investigators caught “a lucky break” when the tipsters came forward after local media stories about the dog. He also acknowelged the county shelter’s help in recognizing Hope as a potential cruelty case as opposed to one of any number of strays that arrive there in terrible condition.

“They could have legitimately euthanized her with the state she was in,” Mr. Heaven said. “But they had the presence of mind to call us and we were able to do something with it. It’s nice when it comes together like that.”

Contact Alexandra Mester at: amester@theblade.com419-724-6066, or on Twitter @AlexMesterBlade.

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