Monday, November 29, 2010

Holidays are here and the animals are the forgotten ones

It is cold outside yet dogs are still chained to dog houses. There to brave the elements. Everytime I go outside that is what I think of... the poor dog that has nothing but a plastic dog house for warmth. Really plastic? You think that keeps the dog warm? I guess it is better then nothing but so makes me want to go in the middle of the night and set them free. I wish I wasn't so afraid of "getting in trouble" LOL! Then I really would do that... Hell even if I had the guts to do something like that as soon as someone knocked on my door and said "Did you XXXXX?" I would break down and admit to it. HAHAHA I would be the worse criminal ever.

There is an Amish Puppy Mill on a major state route near my house. I want to go there so bad and see the "puppies" but I know that I wouldn't be able to keep my mouth shut. Darn me!

So I guess we have to do what we can for those we can and a great place to start is NOW! It is cold outside and there are dogs in shelter laying on concrete floors. There are rescue organizations that are desperate for foster homes. Even if you only foster one dog one time over the winter you have save TWO DOGS! The one you are fostering and the one that didn't have to die in the shelter because you made room!!

Dog rescue is a balancing act and foster homes are needed desperately ALL THE TIME!

Ok, can't foster then collect toys, collars, leashes, beds, blanket, towels, food, treats, cages and donate to a local shelter or rescue.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

I frustrate myself....

Ok, so this past few months has been pretty cool. I won an award at work and I had to get up in front of my entire company, 1,000 plus were probably in attendance and say a thank you. All I could think about after my lame thank you for the award was did I educate people? I should have said this or that.

Then one of my awesome adopters nominated me (well really the dogs) for a segment on a local news station called "Pay It Forward" They come to your house and surprise you with $400. The money came at a great time because Woodstock had just had his eye removal surgery and that was nearly $500 surgery. I had a 2 minute clip on the news that ran a few times. All I could think about was did I educate people? I should have said this or that.

Then today I found out that I am in the news paper... I mean I knew they were doing a small article on me but didn't know when it was going to run. The article is on line and in the paper.. a whole page actually. All I keep thinking is did I educate people? I should have said this or that.

I feel like with all three things I totally blew it. I should have mentioned

* 4 million dogs die in shelters simply because there are not enough home.

* People think there is something wrong with dogs in shelters but that is NOT true. Sometimes people loose their home, loose their job, their dog runs away and they can't find him/her. Sometimes dogs are stolen and end up in a shelter.. .you just never know how a dog got in the shelter.

* People think the dogs in shelters are never pure breed, that is simply NOT true. Heck I specialize in pure breed JRT's and have PLENTY of them right now looking for homes.

* If people would spay/neuter their pets less would end up in shelters and their pets would be so much healthier. There would be less 'unwanted' puppies

* Puppy Mills are what supply the puppies at Pet Stores. Don't buy from Pet Stores that sell puppies and eventually the cruelty of Puppy Mills and the abuse would come to an end.

* Amish are the number 1 offenders of Puppy Mills.

* For every dog and cat to have a home in the US every person in the US would need to own 7 cats and/or dogs.

* Neutering your dog is in NO WAY taking away his man hood. It is animal it has no idea what neuter means nor does he care. Actually your pet will live a happier, safer and healthier life.

* It is a myth, urban legend, old school way of thinking to say "your female dog needs one heat cycle before spaying her or needs to have one litter before spaying her."

* Dogs spayed /neutered at a young age feel less discomfort from surgery and recover MUCH quicker. The older the dog the hard surgery is on them. Waiting is doing nothing more then guaranteeing your dog will suffer.

* Foster homes are the back bone of any rescue. Foster homes are always needed for any breed. Google your favorite breed and find a rescue you can help support. Can't foster.. that is ok. Volunteer your time or donate!

I know writing it all on this blog I am only preaching to the choir... so that just frustrates me more because I feel like I totally lost the opportunity to educate people who maybe I wouldn't have come in contact with or wouldn't have even given it a second thought about buying a dog from a pet store.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I killed a dog today...

My friend called me today and said "I am at the shelter and there is a female 10 year old JRT here. They are going to put her down right now unless I can take her."

I asked why is she there? Is she vetted? Why are they putting her down.

She was an owner surrender because she was nippy with the grand kids and was a resource guarder. She is up to date on shots and spayed. The shelter won't adopt her out because if she did bite a kid they would be held liable. The owners said she has NEVER bit anyone, they were just afraid she would.

I have ZERO places to put another dog. I had to say I am sorry I can't take her in right now. Totally sucks.

Her name is Rudy and as I am typing this she is already dead!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Meet Magic

Magic is a 3 - 4 year old male JRT. He is a tiny, loving little thing with the cutest under bite. He is a good boy who someone has been very mean to!

He was at a shelter where he had been sitting for at least 30 days in this condition before we took him. He wasn't listed on the website so no one knew he was there, he had no chance of getting out... well getting out alive that is.

We named him Magic because it is going to take magic to get him back to health and looking "normal"

It is going to be a LONG road to recovery for Magic but together we can do it and with all paws crossed and a few prayers he will be in a home by the summer.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This is why I don't watch NFL.....

I will not go to a game until Micheal Vick no longer plays. Why is it he gets to make millions while those who he abused suffer and SOMEONE else is trying to re hab them? If Micheal Vick is sorry for what he did then he should be donating money left and right to the re hab of dogs, educating people and giving money to the people that have his dogs to help with ALL medical bills for the rest of their lives. I mean really how much money does he make and according to this article 6 of Vicks dogs were adopted so what $200 a year times 6 dogs equals $1,200 per year. HELL he spends more then that on one meal, I am sure!

Check out this article

Dog owner can't forgive Michael VickMel, Pumpkin

Mel, a black pit bull, cowers to the corner while another dog, Pumpkin, shields him. Mel was one of the 47 pit bulls in Michael Vick's interstate dogfighting ring. (Richard Hunter / November 16, 2010)

While Michael Vick was screaming toward the sky, a black pit bull named Mel was standing quietly by a door.

On this night, like many other nights, Mel was waiting for his owners to take him outside, but he couldn't alert them with a bark. He doesn't bark. He won't bark. The bark has been beaten out of him.

While Michael Vick was running for glory, Mel was cowering toward a wall.

Every time the 4-year-old dog meets a stranger, he goes into convulsions. He staggers back into a wall for protection. He lowers his face and tries to hide. New faces are not new friends, but old terrors.

While Michael Vick was officially outracing his past Monday night, one of the dogs he abused cannot.

"Some people wonder, are we ever going to let Michael Vick get beyond all this?" said Richard Hunter, who owns Mel. "I tell them, let's let Mel decide that. When he stops shaking, maybe then we can talk."

I know, I know, this is a cheap and easy column, right? One day after the Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback officially becomes an American hero again, just call the owner of one of the dogs who endured Vick's unspeakable abuse and let the shaming begin.

Compare Vick's 413 total yards, four touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns against the Washington Redskins to the 47 pit bulls who were seized from Bad Newz Kennels, his interstate dogfighting ring. Contrast one of the best three hours by a quarterback ever to the 21 months he spent in prison.

Cheap and easy, right? Not so fast. Vick's success is raising one of the most potentially costly and difficult perceptual questions in the history of American sports.

If he continues playing this well, he could end up as the league's most valuable player. In six games, he has thrown for 11 touchdowns, run for four more touchdowns, committed zero turnovers and produced nearly 300 total yards per game. Heck, at this rate, with his Eagles inspired by his touch, he could even win a Super Bowl, one of the greatest achievements by an American sportsman.

And yet a large percentage of the population will still think Michael Vick is a sociopath. Many people will never get over Vick's own admissions of unthinkable cruelty to his pit bulls — the strangling, the drowning, the electrocutions, the removal of all the teeth of female dogs who would fight back during mating.

Some believe that because Vick served his time in prison, he should be beyond reproach for his former actions. Many others believe that cruelty to animals isn't something somebody does, it's something somebody is.

Essentially, an ex-convict is dominating America's most popular sport while victims of his previous crime continue to live with the brutality of that crime, and has that ever happened before?

Do you cheer the player and boo the man? Can you cheer the comeback while loathing the actions that necessitated the comeback? And how can you do any of this while not knowing if Vick has truly discovered morality or simply rediscovered the pocket?

If you are Richard Hunter, you just don't watch football.

"When you look at Mel," said Hunter, a radio personality from Dallas, "you just don't think about how Michael Vick is a great football player."

A couple of years ago, Hunter and his wife Sunny were watching a documentary on Best Friends Animal Society, the Utah sanctuary where the court sent 22 of Vick's 44 seized dogs. It was after 1 a.m. when the show featured a Vick victim that had been so badly abused, it refused to move, behaving as if paralyzed.

"My wife said, 'Get out of bed, get on the computer and e-mail those people, I want one of those dogs,' " Hunter recalled.

Nearly 18 months later, they became one of six people to adopt one of the dogs. The process included a home visit by caseworkers, an extended visit to the southwest Utah sanctuary, home monitoring by a dog trainer and a six-month probation period.

These dogs were scarred in many ways both emotional and physical," said John Polis, Best Friends spokesman. "It was something we had never really seen before."

Hunter and his wife quickly saw Mel's scars. The dog wouldn't bark, wouldn't show affection, and would spend nearly an hour shaking with each new person who tried to touch him.

It turns out that Mel had been a bait dog, thrown into the ring as a sort of sparring partner for the tougher dogs, sometimes even muzzled so he wouldn't fight back, beaten daily to sap his will. Mel was under constant attack, and couldn't fight back, and the deep cuts were visible on more than just his fur.

"You could see that Michael Vick went to a lot of trouble to make Mel this way," Hunter said. "When people pet him, I tell them, pet him from under his chin, not over his head. He lives in fear of someone putting their hand over his head."

On Monday night, no, Mel was not hanging out by the televised football game. He was hanging on his owner's bed as they watched something on HBO.

"How can you support football when you know one of their stars did this to a dog?" Hunter said. "If more people saw Mel at the same time as they saw Michael Vick, he wouldn't be so lauded."

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, the lessons learned from Vick's crimes were on display in a postgame quote from Eagles star receiver DeSean Jackson.

"We were like pit bulls ready to get out of the cage," he told reporters.

Cheap and easy, huh?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rescue or not a rescue??

It is sad that no matter what you are doing there are scammers. Hurricane Katrina there were people collecting money who weren't really giving it to the aid in New Orleans. Even in dog rescue, there are people praying on the good hearted people who want to "adopt" a dog and not buy a dog supporting the puppy mill industry. YET because they get scammed they DO end up supporting the industry...

My friend today sent me a link to a cute Chihuahua puppy. Here is how the ad read:

This is Callie and she is just a pup. She is a Pure Bred Chihuahua that is a little pistol. She was not abused, but a little neglected. She is a little thin, but eating well now. She is current not her shots, wormed and ready for a great home. She is Pee-pad trained also. She is at a home right now. Her adoption fee is $225 to a great home. Please do not email, call ONLY at: 440-752-XXXX

Funny thing is it is listed under the name of a store not far from me that does dog grooming, sells dog stuff and SELLS PUPPIES! The sign in front of there store from time to time does say "PUPPIES" on it.

So, I called and played stupid. I asked about the puppy, how they got the puppy, asked how I would go about seeing the puppy, what did I have to do to "adopt" it... application?

I was told that the puppy was given to them because the person that had it feel ill and couldn't care of it any more. The puppy is up to date on shots and wormed.

I asked if the dog was fixed. The person said NO. I said do you get it fixed or do I. And the person said it was totally up to me if I wanted to get the puppy fixed or not. I asked if I had to sign an agreement, the person said NO.

The person told me that they accept cash only because they aren't a business or anything??? HUH? I said I had to talk to my husband and I would call back. The person said that I could leave a message and whenever we could meet up, I could have the puppy. They did have someone else who wanted the puppy on Friday evening but if I got there first I could have the puppy.

WOW! You don't care if I have other dogs, a fence, owned a dog before? WOW! SCAM screamed out to me.... but how many other people have BOUGHT a puppy from this place thinking they were doing a good thing??

And what is sick I know 5 other "rescues" who do the same thing......

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Money Money Money always the reason

I must vent for a minute. I completely understand if you get into a tight situation and being able to afford things becomes difficult. I understand that sometimes people have to cut back and that animals are technically a "luxury" to have. BUT they should be the LAST thing you get rid of and for those who truly LOVE their pets and think of them as breathing creatures with feelings it always is that last thing they have to get rid of.

The reason I am saying this is because twice now I have had a dog returned simply because of MONEY! Not because the people have fallen on hard times simply because they have decided the dog isn't worth the money it cost to have it. And what is even more funny is that they can't admit that to me them always make up some crazy story about how horrible the dog is and make me think maybe this dog isn't adoptable.

Example #1. Last year 2009 my Senior Rep and foster home adopted out this cute little JRT while I was gone on my honeymoon.. so July 2009. In November the family contacted me saying they couldn't keep the dog any more. He HATED his crate and would never go in it, he was afraid of ANYONE coming into their home and he would hide under the table and bark at them and I think they said he pottied in the house if they didn't crate him. Oh and they said he HATED to go outside.

When they returned the dog they brought all his stuff including his crate. I was standing on my porch talking to them about all the issues with the dog and just feeling HORRIBLE that the people were so upset and the dog didn't work out for them. I always say to myself...what could we have done better to prevent the dog from coming back and being bounced around. I always feel that when a dog comes back I failed.

Anyway, as we are standing there talking the dog is walking around and he goes into his create and lays down. REALLY??? He hates his crate. Their back were turned to the dog when he did that and I interrupted the guy as he was telling me how horrible of a dog this was and pointed at the dog laying in his crate. The guy said "HE HAS NEVER DONE THAT BEFORE!!" Oh really??!!

Let's just say over the next month of having the dog live in my house I found nothing to be true they told me. The dog is now VERY HAPPY living with the nicest couple ever and 3 other JRTs.

When the couple left, I started going through all the paper work they left me for the dog. Then I found it... the receipt for the dog boarding kennel. $300! And it was dated just the week before.

Ok so let's tell the TRUTH about why you are returning the dog. You took a vacation for a week, boarded the dog and when you went to pick him up you had NO idea dog boarding was so expensive. You were going away again over Christmas and didn't feel like spending that kind of money again. And I do know they were going away for Christmas because they told me!

Well the same thing just happened again. A family adopted a dog in 2006 and just returned the dog. They sent ALL the vet paper work they had for the dog.... which was the records I gave them in 2006, one vet bill for a rabies in 2009.. I think they only got this b/c they were moving and now vet records for $400 to update the dog on everything she needed because she hadn't been to the vet in so long and plus flea / heartworm prevention for 3 months.

Funny how the dog is great, the dog is wonderful and then a big bill comes and the dog has got to go. The people that just returned the dog, contacted me 1 month after the $400 vet bill. I am sure what happened is the husband saw the credit card statement and lost his lid!

Just so funny how the dog is HORRIBLE for the past month and that is why they have to get rid of her. BUT for the last 4 years she has been PERFECT!

Seriously, just tell me the truth. That way at least I can just be mad your a jerk instead of beating myself up over the fact I failed.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Action Alert: Radio Station is auctioning off a PUPPY!

Folks, please read and share. I could barely believe what I was reading this morning when the first of several emails arrived relative to an upcoming auction being held by a radio station, namely The River 106.3. This is a station that has been one of my favorites, until today, I should say.

One of the items being sold to the highest bidder is a Maltese/Bichon male puppy, "valued at $450" according to their site. The promotion for his auction listing states this male pup was born on 07/25/2010 yet has only received two boosters. The first line reads: "Bid on a Maltese Bichon puppy!"

This is troubling on several levels. I'll list them in no particular order:

1) The radio station has, in the past, appeared to be kind to man's best friend, by spotlighting featured dogs available at local shelters, pounds and rescues, an effort which we appreciate and thank them for on behalf of the animals. However, by offering a live creature, the lone puppy, up for auction with a list of tangible items leaves this author scratching her head as they appear to be doing an about face and participating in the exploitation of animals. We were advised that last year, a similar auction by this station included a live animal, was held. Please see the auction listing at . If you go directly to the radio station's website, you will need to turn off the pop up blocker to view the auction items. . I may have missed it, but I do not see what the proceeds of this auction are intended to be raised for. All it states is "The Great Radio Auction".

2) The Appalachian Ohio SPCA, Inc. had to intervene this spring to save the life of a 3 year old pb German Shepherd (GSD) that had been sold as a puppy, by the very pet store that is donating the pup up for auction. The GSD was sold to a family of five (5) that resided in a small 1950's trailer for the total sum of $833 which included a "puppy kit", according to the receipt which was furnished to us. When we inquired as to the ages of the children living in the home, neither mom, nor dad was certain. The 100# dog lived in a crate in the kitchen, was very unsocialized, as the family rarely had visitors. A neighbor, and board member of a local HS, had arranged for the dog to be taken to the Jefferson County Dog Pound for the sole purpose of putting it down (heartstick, we were told by a humane agent there), after the family asked for assistance in rehoming the dog. The family was moving to a rural area in another county, and was afraid the dog might harm or kill livestock since it was not accustomed to be outside the trailer except to potty on a chain. We found out by chance only the day before the dog was to be put down and stepped in to prevent him from going to the dog pound. The dog, named Boxy, is now guarding maximum security inmates for the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Department of Corrections. I'm sure Boxy is just waiting for the chance to "bite and hold", as he was a very angry young dog living in that environment. More troubling is that he may have been sold, then returned to the pet store prior to having been sold to this family. Fortunately, there was a safe haven for him to go where he can do what he apparently would enjoy... bite someone if given a chance. I'm sure he would have preferred not to have been sold by a pet store for the almighty dollar to a family that obviously had no ability to own him as evidenced by lack of intelligence of the breed, requirements of sufficient space to house such a large animal, and/or ability to provide socialization skills to the animal. They were, however, able to pull out their pocketbook and walk out with a dog, just like someone is going to be able to do by being encouraged to be the high bidder on this puppy offered at auction;

3) There is a ballot initiative in Ohio to ban the auctioning of dogs in this State. Many people are working tireless to obtain the signatures, the first step in making it the law. Please see While you are there, kindly contact them to arrange to sign the petition if you have not already done so; and

4) AKC states dog auctions and raffles are not in the best interest of purebred dogs and is not an appropriate means to buy, sell or trade purebred dogs. Their legislative position statement is also found on a link at and this particular dog is the product of two purebred dogs, the mix commonly called a "designer" breed in order to obtain more money for it.

Therefore, I ask you all to contact the radio station and ask them to refrain from auctioning off live animals in their upcoming auction and all subsequent auctions. I also ask you to share this note with all your facebook friends, as well as all of those that care about the welfare of the animals. The contact information is below:

106.3 The River

Judy Vavrek, Station Manager

2307 Pennsylvania AvenueWeirton, WV 26062


Phone: (304) 723-1444

Fax: (304) 723-1688

I'd like to think that the radio station simply used some bad judgment in offering this pup to the highest bidder, however, if they, in fact, did the same last year, I do see a pattern establishing.

If they are unwilling to remove a live animal from the auction, you might want to mark your calendar for Thursday, November 18 (bidding starts at 4:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 20 beginning at 8:06 a.m. until auction end and call the bid number (304) 723-1444 and voice your protest of the auctioning of animals. It would just take a few minutes to make one call. Please, do it for the animals that are exploited in this manner.

The station manager was not in today, but I left a message asking for a return phone call. We will request they not offer this puppy or any other live animal to the highest bidder at auction. If after relaying my concerns nothing has changed, I will be pressing the "unlike" button on their facebook page, for sure.

Robin McClelland

Appalachian Ohio SPCA, Inc.

P.O. Box 163

Scio, OH 43988

(740) 945-1379


Puppy being auctioned to highest bidder by radio station, ugh!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Paws Crossed

I am really hoping that all the applications I have turn into adoptions and that the dogs that are supposed to get adopted really do. If all goes well I should have Owen, Romeo, Ken and Halle (Georgia) adopted this week.

However, I have a million (at least it feels that way) coming in... now I have to get them spayed/neutered and moved to foster homes so I can take more!

SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY that is all I worry about getting them to safety.

There was this nice lady that sent in an application for Zelda. I really liked her application but she had to get a few things squared away with her current dog before I could approve her application. By the time she has everything done it was a few days before the adoption event and Zelda went to the event and got adopted. I sent her the link to this beautiful female JRT in a kill shelter who I didn't have room for but I really didn't want her to die. She drove to the shelter today and adopted her. WIN WIN for everyone! Her dog has everything he needs, the sweet female went straight from the pound to a home. AND everyone is happy.


Well let's hope that Sunday goes good and some more cuties find homes. I would love to be able to save some more JRT"s and JRT mixes. No one else is going to!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I often wonder do people realize how much work goes into saving just one precious dog? I have a routine that I go through EVERY MORNING! I open my email, go into the folder called "Dogs In Need" That is where I keep all the emails I get from volunteers/people/pounds asking me to save a JRT or JRT mix in the shelter.
**side note** I realize that I haven't taken in many "mix breed" dogs that aren't some type of JRT mix and haven't taken in a lot of "other" breeds of dogs this year but there seems to be an overwhelming number of JRT's and well I feel obligated to take them. I do run the only Ohio JRT rescue.
I click on the link to the Petfinder site to see if the dogs was adopted or killed the day before. Usually on Sunday nights I go through Petfinder to make sure I know what JRT's are out there to make sure one doesn't get killed just because I didn't stay on top of things.

Monday and Tuesday are usually the days I have to determine who I am going to take and who may die. THIS PART SUCKS! I don't want anyone to die but I am only one person with the best darn volunteers and foster homes EVER and we can only do so much.

I make lists, lists of who I have up for adoption, lists of who I think will be adopted soon (someone is interested in them), lists of who needs out of the shelters before it is too late... in order of urgency, lists of who fits in what kennel stall.. lists lists lists trying to figure out just how many can I save?

I send out emails and Facebook posts begging for foster homes. Hey the more foster homes I have the more we can save!

Then once I determine who is going to be saved I have to figure out how the heck to get them to me. I do work a full time job so it isn't like I can just hop in the car and drive 4 hours to places like Scioto, Pike, Ross, Highland, Darke, Guernsey and pick up a dog or two. I have to rely on awesome people, volunteers and rescues to help get the dog from the shelter and find a ride to me or at least close to me so I can pick him/her up after work.

The hardest part is when things change at the last minute.... this dog got adopted, that dog another rescue wants, this dog just came in as an owner surrender but dog warden is putting him down ASAP because they don't have room, this dog missed transport, the transport volunteer never showed to pick up the dogs, the transporters vehicle broken down.... the list goes on.

The other hard part are the split second decisions that need to be made. Ring Ring goes my cell phone. "Hello" I answer. "Amy this is XXXX from XXXX Rescue / County Shelter. This dog is schedule to die tomorrow we need a commitment that you can take him/her or he/she is going to be killed tomorrow."

That probably happens 1 to 3 times a week. Last week it happened 5 times!!!

Some days I feel like I need a secretary or better yet a magic crystal ball that reads the future!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What a week

This week was nothing but an up and down roller coaster ride. We saved 10 dogs this week from being killed and have a few more on hold that we will be getting in this week. All the shelters are FULL FULL FULL to the brim and there seems to be no end in sight. No matter what breed or mix breed it is in a shelter in Ohio! Why?? What is wrong with people?

I have 24 dogs in rescue right now with 20 of them in foster care. That is the most I have ever had in foster care. I am so thankful to all the amazing people who have stepped up and are fostering. Thanks to them we are able to save way more dogs then normal.

I am hoping to be able to save a few dogs this week.

Over all this has been a pretty good year. A lot of dogs saved.. I mean for as small of a rescue as I am. No parvo this year, nothing really too major. I mean Sparky's broken leg and let me tell you that was the WORSE weekend ever. But good things came out of that and a realization came out of that too.

I realized that there are people who do dog rescue FOR THE DOGS! And there are people who do dog rescue because they THINK they are doing it for the dogs.. what their real motive is I am not really sure. You would think that rescues would all work together but they don't. I always say being in rescue is like being in high school.. you are either a cool kid or you are an outcast. How stupid is that? I mean really!?

There are plenty of rescues that I don't 100% agree with everything they do but I know their hearts are in the right place and they do what they feel is best and right for the dogs in their care. And really isn't that what it is all about?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Alligator TRIED to eat a JRT!!

I had to cross post this News Article.

Using a .357 and then CPR, man rescues dog from Hillsborough River alligator

The 5-foot alligator that tangled with Lizbeth on Thursday in the Hillsborough River was captured later that evening.
The 5-foot alligator that tangled with Lizbeth on Thursday in the Hillsborough River was captured later that evening.

TAMPA — To save Lizbeth the dog from the jaws of an alligator Thursday morning, Tom Martino pulled out his gun and fired around the thrashing in the Hillsborough River.

When the Jack Russell terrier got free from the gator's grip, Martino fished Lizbeth from the water and gave her mouth-to-snout resuscitation.

The 15-pound, black-and-white dog is being treated at a veterinarian's office for puncture wounds and lung complications from almost drowning.

"I just pulled my gun out and started blasting," Martino said. "I didn't really want to hit the alligator, but I wanted to scare the damn thing to let her go."

The alligator was trapped by authorities Thursday night.

The attack happened about 11 a.m. as Martino, 57, was walking with Lizbeth in back of his central Tampa house on the river.

At first, Martino thought the commotion was Lizbeth tangling with a duck. But it was a 5-foot alligator instead.

Nervous about shooting the dog, Martino instead fired his .357-caliber handgun around the alligator until it released Lizbeth and swam away.

He retrieved the dog and started giving CPR, breathing into her nostrils.

"She was just like dead, you know?" he said. "I was petrified for the dog, because she's like a baby to me."

But then the dog spit out water and began breathing again. Martino and his wife rushed Lizbeth to Florida Veterinary Specialists, 3000 Busch Lake Blvd.

"Right now, she's holding her own," said Bonita Voiland, the veterinary office's director of marketing and communications.

Doctors are treating alligator wounds — two punctures on the dog's back and teeth marks on her belly — and lung problems.

They're also concerned about infections because the 9-year-old dog had been at the clinic last week, Martino said, after acting lethargic.

Martino asked the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to set a trap; the gator was caught around 6 p.m.

"It never went for his trap, but he threw a line out there and snatched it," Martino said.

Times staff writer Robbyn Mitchell contributed to this report. Stephanie Wang can be reached at or (813) 661-2443.

Lizbeth is being treated for puncture wounds, teeth marks and lung problems after her battle with a gator.

Lizbeth is being treated for puncture wounds, teeth marks and lung problems after her battle with a gator.