Dog suspected of abuse inspires neighbors to fight for animal rights

Episode Date: January 15, 2018
(LEWES, Del.) - It was just over a week ago, the day of the 'bomb cyclone,' when a kind stranger spotted Marvin, a suspected one-year-old Mastiff Hound mix, sitting alongside a street barely alive. She immediately called for help. 

"It was very cold that day. He was hungry and very, very thin," recalled Cheryl Crowe, Marvin's now foster mom. 

Crowe says Marvin was only about 47 pounds when he was found; however, a dog his size and age is expected to weigh double that amount. 

"He was so weak at that point that the animal services officer literally had to pick him up and put him into the vehicle to transport him to the Brandywine Valley SPCA," said Crowe. 

Marvin has since been welcomed into Grass Roots Rescue where he receives nourishment, care and comfort from Crowe. 

"He certainly responds very well to basic commands, which leads me to believe he was probably someone else's dog," said Crowe. 

But with no microchip or person to claim him, Marvin's past is still a mystery; however, skin lesions and timid behavior around humans lead Crowe to believe he was once abused. 

"It's my inclination that he was probably an animal that was tied outside that was perpetually tethered and either was set free or got loose somehow and managed to find his way as far as he could until he was found," explained Crowe. 

Today, Marvin's on the path to a full recovery as he continues to slowly gain weight and shows signs of improvement. 

"He's giving us a lot of good signs that he will be a very happy and easy-going animal. It's just that we have to be slow about getting there and understand that he's learning everything for the first time," explained Crowe. 

In addition, Crowe says Grass Roots Rescue is currently working to find Marvin a forever home. 

"I think that Marvin is very lucky. He probably would not have lived another day," said Crowe. "The unfortunate part about that is there probably are more Marvins that we just never knew about." 

Even though Marvin's story ends on a happier note, sadly for many others, their stories are still left untold. That's why Crowe says she and a group of volunteers hope to use Marvin's story as a way to educate people and prevent more cases like this from happening. 

"I know there's a lot of tension surrounding some of our laws and some of our legislature that affects the ins and outs of tethering in inclement weather, but I don't necessarily believe that the law failed Marvin, I think his owner failed Marvin," explained Crowe. "It comes down to folks knowing what they should and should not be doing, what the law allows and what the law doesn't allow, and also knowing what services are available to the pet owners." 

Crowe says overtime people have banded together to improve current legislation, such as language regarding the laws prohibiting tethering and dogs in inclement weather. 

"We do have a task force now, a very small group that we're kind of analyzing the language of our current laws and looking at what we can do to improve that," said Crowe. "Right now, we're looking at Senate Bill 211, which was passed in 2012. It's the anti-tethering bill that limits the amount of time an animal can be tethered." 

Although SB 211 was passed six years ago, Crowe says the group is still finding deficiencies. 

"I think the time limit on tethering is really what we're trying to take a look at in further detail. It's just a really, really hard thing to enforce when it comes to a time limit and documentation," explained Crowe. "The main concern, of course with everything, is funding and budget and how we would implement any changes to be enforced considering our folks at Animal Services are already working nonstop, but it's a group effort with volunteers, our legislators, Animal Services, and our community." 

To learn more about Senate Bill 211, visit https://legis.delaware.gov/BillDetail/21588. For updates on Marvin's recovery and/or to learn more about Grass Roots Rescue, visit www.grrde.org.