There’s nothing sadder than to see an animal abused by its owner. But one dog in Hawaii was found in especially horrific condition—a sight that inspired an effort by rescuers to give her a second chance at life.
On July 9, a member of animal rescue group PAWS of Hawaii discovered a shocking sight at West Oahu beach: a dog was buried in the sand.
The dog was buried by her owner, reportedly in a poorly considered attempt to mercy kill the animal, who was suffering from multiple ailments.
“He felt he was ending her suffering by trying to end her life, instead of getting her the help she needed,” Ku’ulei Durand, the Executive Director of PAWS of Hawaii, told KITV. According to a Facebook post the man was also carrying a machete.
Leialoha needs you….This beautiful girl was found by one of our team members. Someone had just buried her and they…
Posted by PAWS of Hawaii on Tuesday, July 9, 2019
The entire team at PAWS rushed out to save the dog, and brought her to Aloha Affordable Veterinary Services. She was found in miserable condition.
“Severe sunburn, lesions, swollen limbs in her extremities—that is a sign of being very dehydrated and very poor care,” Dr. Kelly Dowdall-Garberson, the veterinarian in charge of the dog, told KITV.
Ninety percent of the dog’s fur was missing, and the skin beneath was in terrible condition.
“Her skin, if you were able to smell her, is rancid because she has so many open sores that are infected,” said Durand. “The man who buried her, we were led to believe, had started to cut her.”
🌸 LEIALOHA UPDATE 🌸Our beautiful Leialoha was given her first bath today, poor girl was bleeding from every inch of…
Posted by PAWS of Hawaii on Wednesday, July 10, 2019
But there was some light in the darkness. PAWS posted images of the dog—who they named Leialoha—and asked people to donate money to cover her medical costs. People on Facebook were outraged and saddened enough that they donated enough to cover her treatment.
They were also able to connect her to a loving foster parent, a woman named Amanda who had fostered for the rescue in the past. She says Leialoha is slowly improving.
“Leialoha has come so far since Tuesday night,” Amanda said via a Facebook post. “Initially, she would only leave her kennel to go to the bathroom. Last night, she came out, while we had friends over to see what was for dinner and has been liking being under the coffee table.”
“She has a long way to go, but the worst is over.”
Posted by PAWS of Hawaii on Saturday, July 13, 2019
“She is a tough girl, so strong and amazing,” Durand told KITV. “A great personality. It is so wonderful to see dogs come out of their shell, even with just a day of love.”
Leialoha will stay with her foster family until she is ready for adoption. Til then, she still receives medical checkups every two days to make sure her skin is recovering.
As for the man who did this, Durand says that prosecution of these things can be tricky.
“Enforcement around animal laws is very difficult,” she says. “Unless you have a video of the animal being abused, a picture and a report isn’t going to stick.”
But perhaps the greatest justice is that Leialoha is alive and recovering thanks to the kindness of her rescuers—and anyone outraged by her treatment would be better off putting their energies towards rescuing similar animals.
“There are so many things you can do to help, like contact local rescues or shelters and see what you can do to assist,” Durand says.
As this story proves, a little love can go a long way in even the most dire circumstances.
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