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FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 2007
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Mother dog, pups found unattended; notice given

By Ronnie Thomas
rthomas@decaturdaily.com · 340-2438

SOMERVILLE — The scorching heat hasn’t suppressed the grass and weeds in the fenced-in yard of a mobile home at 3503 E. Upper River Road.

But it was killing a mother.

No doubt the heat, along with other factors related to someone having left them unattended, would have taken a toll on her six puppies and a cat.

On Thursday, not long after the temperature reached the day’s high of 102 at 2:30 p.m., a reporter tramped through the weeds to take photos and console them as best he could. A Morgan County employee had notified The Daily.

Upon the reporter’s first approach, the mother, in an obviously weakened condition, her ribs showing, pushed herself to the limit.

She began backing up and barking, the plump puppies that she has managed to nourish running to her. Like any mother, she was preparing to defend them.

When Morgan County Animal Control heard Monday about the seemingly abandoned animals, officers took water and food as they attempted to locate their owner. They put a notice on the door.

The county employee said she and members of her family took more food and water Thursday morning.

According to Morgan County revenue commissioner records, the heirs of Joe Terry appear to own the 110 acres on which the mobile home sits next to a cornfield.

The property has a total taxable value of $241,200, tax records show.

Claudia Ray, director of Morgan County Animal Control, said later Thursday that she and officers returned to the home for a follow-up check.

“The owner pulled up while we were there,” she said. “He said he had not seen the notice because he had been going in the back door.”

Ray said she put him on notice that the mother dog needs to go to the veterinarian. She said he told her that he was going to work and couldn’t do it immediately.

“We gave him until Saturday afternoon for a vet to notify us and to tell us he had taken care of the dog,” Ray said. “Monday morning, if no vet has contacted us, we will issue a warrant for his arrest for animal cruelty.”

Ray cautions all pet owners that because of the extremely hot weather, they need to put more thought into making sure their animals have water and food, and a proper place to live.

She said anyone who sees pets in danger should call the animal shelter at 773-2934.

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