Florence neighbors step up for dog left alone and in need

Staff writer

There’s a dog in Florence with no family. Neighbors have been feeding him over the fence for several months, since the dog’s family moved away and left him in the backyard.

Ali Johnson, who lives down the street from the dog, also has been feeding him when she can, along with several other neighbors.

“It seems a lot of people get a dog that they have no intentions of caring for,” she said. “I was hesitant to do anything for fear of causing problems for a neighbor, but every dog deserves better than that.”

The dog is sweet and attention-loving, greeting anyone who passes his yard at the fence with a toothy smile and wagging tail. Currently the dog is not much underweight because of the neighbors’ efforts, and it has an area to get out of the weather.

Johnson said the dog has been neglected for several months now, and she has contacted the city office about doing something about him.

“We’re trying to get the situation resolved,” Florence City Clerk Janet Robinson said. “The neighbors have been taking care of him but that gets expensive.”

Police Chief Bronson Shipman has contacted an animal shelter in Newton, but the dog might find a home locally, Robinson said.

“A resident is looking at taking him and finding him a good home,” Robinson said. “It’s just a sad situation because it’s not the dog’s fault.”

Oftentimes when an animal is neglected or abandoned, it is because someone could not afford to take care of it.

However, there are several options where people can drop animals they no longer can care for or afford, rather than letting the animal pay the price.

Autumn Hanson of Critter Connection in Marion said she takes pets to re-home when she can. Veterinarians around the county say that while they don’t have the facility to house the animals they do their best to find people who can.

Veterinarian Virginia Skinner of Peabody Veterinarian Clinic said she takes cats, gives them needed medical attention spay and neuters them at her own cost, and finds them a home.

“Dogs are more difficult to handle,” she said. “I help people when I can and take strays, but I can’t afford or have the facility to help everyone.”

She does however help people with dogs they don’t want get in touch with people who are looking for a new pet.

Animal Health Center and Spur Ridge Veterinary Clinic in Marion both help owners with pets they can’t keep or afford to find new homes.

Spur Ridge keeps records of residents who call looking for pets to pass on to those looking to re-home theirs or find a home for a stray.

However, Skinner said in a pinch the best thing to do is contact the Caring Hands Humane Society in Newton.

Caring Hands takes any pet from Marion County so long as they are brought to them during business hours. It is imperative for the adoption process that the humane society know the animal’s history, but that information is not released to anyone adopting the animal unless the donor OKs it.

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