Melody Townsend has seen some horror stories.
The facility director at the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society, Townsend is no stranger to the damage humans can inflict on animals.
But even she was not fully prepared for the arrival of a dog that the staff at the Humane Society shelter would come to call Justice – as in seeking justice for this dog and the vile way he departed this world.
Justice was picked up by Animal Control Officer Roland Jones after he had been alerted by a home health nurse working at a residence in the Five Acre Farms area.
The nurse at arrived at the home of a client to find chained in the front yard a dog.
No more than a year old, Townsend guessed.
His neck chained tightly to a stake in yard.
Starved to death, bones sticking sickeningly from his skin, his eyes tightly shut, his face contorted in obvious agony.
According to the information Jones provided, the couple who own the home are older, the wife having recently been hospitalized, the husband currently hospitalized.
The dog belonged to the woman’s son, she told Jones, and the son was in Tallahassee.
The dog’s care was his responsibility.
Townsend said it would be a “really long” time over which the dog would have starved, a death that would have been particularly agonizing.
“I don’t understand people,” Townsend said. “When the homeowner came home she either walked by her dead dog in the yard or a starving dog on a chain. I can’t even imagine.”
Jones will pursue charges, Townsend said.
Townsend said she sees a case of similar abuse or neglect of a dog every other month, six times a year.
Humane Society board president Sandi Christy was on hand when Justice was brought in.
“We just have to bring attention to this sort of thing,” Christy said. “This is the kind of thing we need to put a stop to.”