dog

Marley, a 7-year-old Golden retriever, was found this weekend tied to a door at the Pine Township fire station. She is safe, and her owner is facing charges.

PINE TOWNSHIP – A dog abandoned last weekend at the Pine Township fire station is doing well, and the person suspected of leaving her behind could face charges.

Paul Tobin, a humane agent with the Humane Society of Mercer County, said the incident remains under investigation and that he expects to file animal cruelty charges soon against the dog’s previous owner.

Marley, a 7-year-old female golden retriever, was placed with a foster family who has decided to adopt her.

Someone saw Marley, tied up to the fire station’s door, and submitted an anonymous message Saturday through The Herald’s “Submit a news tip” feature on the newspaper’s website, where John Zavinski, Herald assistant editor for graphics, saw it.

The message read: “There is a Golden retriever tethered to the back door of the Pine Township fire department. She has a note on her collar asking for help.”

Zavinski called the Mercer County 911 center’s non-emergency line to report the abandoned dog and staff directed him to state police, who had the fire department check it out.

The Humane Society got involved, and the fire department contacted Lori Reynolds, executive director of Grove City Area Pet Rescue. 

When Reynolds arrived at Pine Township Engine Company, 1252 S. Center St. Ext. (state Route 208), she found that Marley had been tied with a leash to a rear door of the building in an area not visible to passers-by.

A note inside a plastic bag around the dog’s neck said Marley had Lyme disease and needed help.

The dog was friendly and seemed to be in good shape, Reynolds said. She helped Tobin track down information about Marley’s previous owner. She also kept the dog until a foster home was secured.

Using online resources, Tobin located the dog’s previous owner, a breeder in the Portersville area. When Tobin contacted the owner, she confirmed that Marley had been her dog, and said she had undergone hardships that kept her from being able to care for the dog. 

The woman told Tobin that a friend was taking Marley to a pet rescue in Grove City, but the building was closed. The friend then decided to leave the dog at the fire station.

Tobin said he’s not sure how long Marley was left alone at the fire station, and he’s not convinced there was a second person involved. Security cameras at the fire station were unable to capture clear images because it was dark outside.

This situation could have turned out a lot worse, but it’s not a good idea to tie a dog to a door at a strange place in the middle of a winter night, Tobin said, partly because abandoned pets sometimes develop behavioral issues that can keep them from acclimating to new homes.

“These dogs get stressed,” he said. “They don’t know if you’re coming back,” he said.

Tobin said there are resources for people who have trouble paying for a pet’s medical care. Some veterinarians accept payment plans, and agencies like the Humane Society can help as well. Reynolds said Grove City Area Pet Rescue can help however it is able.

Marley’s new family already scheduled an appointment for veterinary care.

Tobin said he will ask for restitution from Marley’s owner to get money for veterinary bills, but said it’s difficult to repayment in a timely manner. That’s why the Humane Society relies heavily on donations to help cover the costs of these animal cruelty cases.

FOR MORE information about the Humane Society of Mercer County or to make a donation, visit the organization’s Facebook page or mail payment to Box 1046, Hermitage, PA 16148.

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