Ann Arbor, MI (March 3, 2017) – Blueberry, a full-grown pit bull terrier mix, weighed just 34 pounds when she arrived at the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) September 12, 2016. On the veterinarian’s 1-9 Body Condition Score (BCS), she was a 1: Emaciated; her ribs and bones could be seen even from a distance.
[Right: Photo of Blueberry, taken September 12, 2016]
On February 24, the Honorable Judge Charles Pope of the 14B District Court found Ypsilanti Township resident Savanna Garret guilty of neglect, violating the Michigan Anti-cruelty Law 750.50 – Failure to provide adequate food, water and shelter or medical treatment. The misdemeanor charge carries a punishment of up to 93 days in jail, and a maximum $1,000 fine or up to 200 hours of community service.
Garrett claimed that while Blueberry lived with her, she was her ex-boyfriend’s dog and that the reason Blueberry was so skinny is that food would pass right through her.
Examinations and treatment by veterinarians revealed that Blueberry’s poor body condition was a result of simply not being fed, not a symptom of any underlying medical condition.
“It’s important to know that bystanders to abuse and cruelty can be held responsible, too,” says Naomi Smith, HSHV cruelty investigator. “After just nine days in our care – with just nine days of feeding her normal dog food – Blueberry gained nine pounds. That was over 26% of her body weight. And for those struggling with the cost of pet food, we have resources to help; please reach out to us before it gets to this point or worse.”
Despite having suffered severe neglect and starvation, two-year-old Blueberry continued to wag her tail (as seen in her intake photo, right), and trust and adore people. After receiving three weeks of regular meals and medical treatment at HSHV, the friendly pit bull mix was made available for adoption. HSHV helped find her a loving family in under a week.
[Right: Photo of Blueberry taken in her adopter’s home, February 2017]
“She is just so happy and wanting to be loved,” says Blueberry’s new adopter [Name withheld for privacy]. “I can’t imagine what she looked like when you got her in your shelter. I’m glad that the people that did this to her are being held accountable.”
“We are grateful to the Washtenaw County Prosecutors’ office and Judge Pope for taking animal cruelty seriously,” says Tanya Hilgendorf, HSHV’s President and CEO. “Animals can’t defend or speak out for themselves, and we at HSHV can’t do it by ourselves. It takes a village of people to look out for others who are vulnerable.”
Sentencing for Garrett is scheduled for April 27, 2017.
About The Humane Society of Huron Valley:
The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal “save-rate” among all similar shelters in Michigan. Charity Navigator, the nation’s top charity evaluator, awarded HSHV a 4-star ranking, the highest possible. The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. More information can be found on HSHV’s website (hshv.org) and on our annual report (www.hshv.org/annualreport).