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Featured Canine Ambassador: Liberty

This is the story of Liberty. It is a story of great suffering, and of hope.

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Liberty's Story

Liberty, a name given by Animal Control Officers, came into Rescue after being shot and thrown from a van that pulled over to the shoulder in rush-hour traffic on a major Toronto- area highway. She careened back and forth across the highway for over 2 hours, according to Animal Control officers who tried desperately to catch her, then took off across a field nearby.

Frightened, dazed, in pain and confused, she eluded them for 12 hours, finally collapsing near a truck-stop. Adrenaline powered her, as it was discovered she had a seriously fractured tibia that must have occured earlier that fateful day or before. And no, vet reports indicate that she was NOT hit by a car, but sustained the injury from a blow to the leg.

Her neck was covered in scabs and missing hair from what looked to be chain tie- out...not a collar, but industrial-grade chain. She had what looked to be healed cigarette burns on her lips. Parts of her ear-flaps were missing, but these were old and healed. The thick undercoat she had indicated an outside dog... for more than one season.

An orthopedic surgeon operated for over 4 hours on her leg, inserting steel plates, screws and rings in an attempt to reconnect living bone. A buckshot pellet was removed from the same leg; again, an old healed wound.

Perhaps the most insulting injury of all was the discovery of a tattoo in her right ear, a tattoo that belonged to an Ontario breeder. A breeder whom, when contacted, wanted to know nothing more than if the dog survived. Liberty was one of over 40 pups registered that year, and in my understanding (the stud books are there for all to see) has continued to_breed these numbers since. Also has been a former member of many breed I won't get into the conversation I had with this breeder, but suffice with the taste of feces in my mouth, for lack of a better description. And it wasn't the first time I have spoken to this breeder about a dog in our program with the same kennel name. Or the 2nd, or even the get the point.

Liberty's story was released to the press, because there were potential witnesses out there who saw it happen, besides the ones that had already come forward, including an off-duty Animal Control officer who happened to be driving the other way, and who turned around at the next exit. By then, the van was too far away to catch, and her focus turned to catching the dog. The Toronto Sun ran her photo on the front page, and the flood of calls was incredible. More witnesses came forward, and literally hundreds called with best wishes and offers of money to help pay the medical bills. The Ontario SPCA began compiling witness account and following up on all leads. To date (April 98) the investigation is on-going, but an arrest is very likely. A subsequent conviction is even stronger. The breeder, faced with the idea of giving me the name of the original purchaser instead of the police, willingly gave up the information. Of course, the original owner had sold the dog 5 years prior, but the breeder didn't know that fact, nor that the phone #s had changed.

Subsequent to the coverage, her story was picked up by other media. She appeared on the Camilla Scott show, and an entire hour was devoted to her and Rottweilers in general on CHML talk radio. Over $3000 was donated by the general public to help cover her medical costs, which matched the figure we had anticipated by the time all medical is completed.

The great news is that Liberty's temperament is rock-solid. She is the face-wash queen, with a tongue that rivals a giraffe's. Some emotional scars will take time. She is petrified around any kind of stick: broom, shovel, hockey stick etc, and she flinches when she hears a car backfire, fireworks, or any other gunshot-type noise. This 6 year-old girl, prematurely greying muzzle and all, has begun a new and happier life. The prognosis for a full recovery is excellent, although she may always carry a limp. The goal is to remove some of the steel in her leg eventually, depending on how the bone heals. She is one strong-willed, open- hearted loving dog. Amazing, isn't it, how such dogs can trust so readily again? There is a special place for her on Rainbow Bridge, which we hope she won't have to fill for several more years.




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