WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – The footage is hard to see, but it shows the grim reality for a dog the community has named Hope.
The dog was severely emaciated and dehydrated when he was brought to the Cedar Bend Humane Society last weekend.
“The dog was in very poor physical condition,” said Cedar Bend veterinarian Dr. Kent Melick. “She had lost at least 50% of what should have been normal body weight.”
Despite their best efforts and 24 hour care, Hope passed away on Wednesday.
In her two decades of service with Cedar Bend, Managing Director Kristy Gardner has said this is the worst case of wasting she has seen.
“This dog suffered for a long time,” she says. “The vet and our medical staff really considered euthanasia just because she was in such bad shape.”
Almost all of the dogs’ bones were clearly visible.
She needed a lot of help but the staff had to keep her for 3 days to see if anyone wanted her. During this time, she received full attention, including IVs and antibiotics.
“She just needed more care than we can provide here,” Melick said.
At first the dog showed some improvement but then took a turn for the worse.
“She tried to eat, she could lift her head,” Gardner said. “Anytime an animal shows improvement with us, it encourages us to keep trying for it.”
Gardner appealed for donations on Tuesday to raise money for medical treatment for Hope in Cedar Rapids.
“This bitch was going to need extensive medical care, and the long-term care and testing that they would have to do for her was going to be pretty expensive,” he said. “For a nonprofit that manages four to 5,000 animals each year, so that we have tens of thousands of dollars to put into a single animal, we don’t always have that readily available.
Thousands of donations poured in, but Hope died before she could receive treatment.
In an instant, their hope was shattered.
“I feel bad,” said Melick. “The sad part of this story is that if she had been at the shelter in this same situation, maybe a few weeks earlier, I think she would have had a chance to be saved.”
Funds raised over the past few days will be used to help other dogs in need.
“I would say half of the animals that come to us need some sort of medical attention because of the disease,” Gardner said.
She said they see five to ten dogs like this every year, but it’s not that bad.
She hopes Hope’s case will raise more awareness of animal cruelty.
Over the past few days, Hope has fought for a chance to fight. Now his inheritance will give that chance to other animals.
“Although we are completely sorry that we were unable to save her,” Gardner said. “There will be hundreds of hundreds of animals who will benefit from its history.”
Given the extent of the neglect and abuse this dog has suffered, Gardner wants to see those responsible held accountable.
She said there was currently a “full investigation” into the ongoing case by Animal Control and Waterloo Police.
She said people called Cedar Bend with information on the case. She encouraged anyone with information to contact the authorities.