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Burned, abused dog leaves hospital with new owners

Published: Sat, May 21, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.

Abused dog leaves hospital with new owners

By jeanne starmack


hermitage, pa.

Bentley was a spe- cial guest Friday at Chance the dog’s going-home party at the Hermitage Veterinary Hospital.

The 3- to 5-year-old, 45-pound lab mix was, in fact, the only nonhuman guest at the party as the hospital and the Mercer County Humane Society sent Chance on his way with his new family.

Bentley had been a good buddy, too, for Chance, a year-old hound mix, while the two recuperated together at the clinic — Chance from burns and starvation, allegedly suffered while with his former owners; and Bentley from a broken neck after he’d been hit by a car.

The dogs’ bond was evident as Chance’s new owners, Jennifer and Mike Unrue of Sharon, Pa., walked him out of the hospital. Bentley was waiting in the crowd outside, and Chance, robust and happy now, challenged him to a wrestling match. Mike quickly pulled him back — Bentley’s neck cast, which he’s worn for three weeks and will wear for three more, ruled him out as a wrestling partner.

So, as Chance gained a new home, Bentley lost his buddy.

The Humane Society, which put Chance and Bentley in the care of Dr. Craig Kryger at the Hermitage clinic, is hoping Bentley will get a consolation prize — a new home of his own.

Bentley was found three weeks ago in the middle of Route 318 in West Middlesex, said Mercer County Humane Agent Renee Dorogy. Whoever hit him didn’t stop.

“That’s what we run into,” said Sandi Drabick, Humane Society executive director. “People hit and go, and I’m hearing it’s because they are afraid they’ll get in trouble.

“If you hit an animal, don’t just keep going. You aren’t going to get in trouble.”

While Bentley’s mishap may have been an accident, Chance’s plight was anything but, Sharon police and the Mercer County District Attorney’s Office say.

His former owners, Raelynn Van Tassel, 23, and Shannon Clarke, 34, of Baldwin Avenue, Sharon, are charged with animal cruelty.

In testimony at a preliminary hearing for the two Wednesday in District Magistrate Dennis Songer’s court, witnesses pieced together what they believe happened to Chance, then named Roscoe.

He had been burned over more than 50 percent of his body, either by a chemical or scalding liquid, sometime in early April. He’d languished for days with no vet care, then was taken by Clarke and a friend April 8 to the North Flats area of Sharon, where he was dropped off near an abandoned warehouse.

A Sharon police officer found him there April 10, and as it so happened, the Unrues were in the area at the time.

Mike, a Sharon firefighter, stayed with Chance until Dorogy arrived.

The dog was in terrible pain, walking curled up and sideways “because it hurt him to stretch the skin,” Mike said.

Jennifer knew then that she wanted to adopt him, she said.

The Unrues were the ones who came up with his name after a relative told them that “all he needs is a second chance,” Mike said.

They visited him at the clinic several times a week, Jennifer said.

“Dr. Kryger, he’s an angel — the things he’s done for [Chance],” Jennifer said.

Chance will need some follow-up care, Dr. Kryger said, and he may not regrow “a good portion of hair” over the large areas of pink scarring the Unrues will have to cover with sunblock.

He will be an inside dog and will be spoiled, Jennifer said. “He’ll sleep on the couch and jump on the bed.”

Drabick said Chance got plenty of donations to help with his vet care, including many from Ohio. She said the Humane Society wants everyone to know how grateful it is for the donations.

Donations for Bentley’s care, she said, also would be appreciated.

For now, Bentley is still bunking at the Hermitage clinic. Anyone interested in adopting him can call the Humane Society at 724-981-5445. To donate to his care, send a check to the Mercer County Humane Society, P.O. Box 1046, Hermitage, PA 16148.


1lilgandee(103 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Thank god for putting the right people there to find him with the ability to help him. The Unrue's are angels also. I am also greatful to the. Humane Society for not putting him or Bentley to sleep. The pain and suffering they felt was horrendous. I found a dog in the the 90's noone came for him. I scooped him up then took him to the vet who felt his injuries were to severe. I named him Buster and stayed with him now I rescue dogs with Imps. The punishment for animal cruelty needs to change. I surely hope it does. God bless all of you that help animals "get their 2nd Chance."

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2MattMarzula(109 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

I always argue the appropriation for funds that goes toward animal care. But it really does boil down to owner responsibilities. It is all too clear that the owners are negligent. But I'm the type that would push for euthanasia. I hate to see anything suffer unduly.

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3janeyblue(227 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

So good to hear Chance has a furever home.
As for you Matt...you need to be put down. After all,you are "anything". Your comment was mean and cruel. Too bad your mommy didn't get a free termination. Such a warm fuzzy love anything kind of guy. NOT.

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4lilgandee(103 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Why even read this story Matt since you would push for putting the animal to sleep. Plus you don't think funds should be used on these animals. People have sent donations for this neglected animals. I do agree the owner should be responsible but so should anyone who hurts an animal accidently and purposely. You hate what's said but yet you keep reading Chance's story knowing others have compassion for him and other animals.

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