Dani arrived at the animal hospital on Friday a mess, her white chest streaked with blood and her muzzle marked with deep grooves as though it had been taped shut.
The man who claimed to have found her that day was her owner, who lied to avoid paying Dani’s medical bills after she cut herself on a barbed-wire fence, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones announced Monday. The injuries to her snout were from spending prolonged periods of time muzzled.
Despite it all, foster owner Alice Anderson said Monday night, she arrived in her foster home with her tail wagging.
“She came into the house with not a care,” Anderson said. “Just all love. … She let the cats rub right up against her. She was absolutely wonderful. There were no issues whatsoever.”
According to Jones, Dani’s former owner said she needed to be muzzled because she chewed on items in the home and became aggressive toward another dog.
“That’s not true at all at my house,” Anderson said. “She runs around the house, doesn’t chew anything up.”
Katie Goodpaster of Hart Rescue said it’s not uncommon for people to lie about the reason they return a animal to a shelter — or about whether or not they own it. It’s not necessary, she said.
“We evaluate them on our own,” she said. “There’s no reason to sit there and lie to us about what the dog is doing or not doing. We’ll take the dog back anyway.”
She’s frustrated by the confusion surrounding Dani, she added, and she hopes charges will be filed against the former owner. Goodpaster said the investigator on the case has been patiently scheduling interviews and lining up the facts in pursuit of a day in court.
“Tears have been shed,” she said. “We’ve been angry, upset. We felt like puking. It’s a whole range of emotions. (But) seeing Dani as happy as she is, her tail wagging — there’s nothing wrong with that dog. Absolutely not a thing.”
Anderson said she would love to keep Dani forever but can’t. Instead, she’ll care for the dog through her recovery and help find a forever home when the time comes.
“I will not let her go to just a total stranger,” she said. “There’s just no way. She melts my heart. She has part of my heart right now. I just love her to death.”