Local News

Neglected Cumberland Dog On Road To Recovery

Posted August 14, 2003

— A Great Dane who was left for dead from abuse is making a full recovery.

An animal control officer found Cherokee in a pile of trash February in Cumberland County. She says the dog was severely underweight at 74 pounds and had lost most of his hair. The dog also had open sores all over his body.

"He looked like a walking, dead dog. He was skin covering bones and that's it," said Michelle Fitzgerald of the Great Dane Rescue League.

A Cumberland County judge convicted Patrick Jackson Thursday of starving the dog. Jackson says he gave "Cherokee" away a month before animal control found the dog. He says the last time he saw the dog, he weighed at least 100 pounds and was in good health.

"I guess this is my 15 minutes of fame. Actually, I guess it would be infamy now," Jackson said.

The prosecutor showed the pictures of how Cherokee looked in February to the judge and offered a different explanation. He painted Jackson as a backyard breeder who just did not care for his dogs.

Under Fitzgerald's care, Cherokee, now known as Handsome, is still missing some hair, but he weighs 140 pounds. After more than $1,000 in vet bills, Fitzgerald said he is recovering.

"It's the worst case of animal abuse I've seen since I've been in animal rescue and I've been doing this for 18 years," she said.

Jackson was ordered to pay $1,000 for vet bills. He was also sentenced to two years probation. The judge criticized the state, saying it spent more time on this case than some child abuse cases. The prosecutor said his office is dedicated to all cases.


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