TOLEDO (WTVG) - A local rescue group is seeing a disturbing trend. The Lucas County Pit Crew is dealing with an influx of emaciated dogs right now. The volunteer rescue group has taken in twice as many malnourished dogs in the last month than they usually do in an entire year.
We want to warn you, some of you may find some the images in this story disturbing. Athena is a 7-month-old Doberman Pinscher. She weighs less than half what she should.
Jean Keating is the founder of The Lucas County Pit Crew, "This is a case of slow starvation over a period of weeks. I'm sure she would have passed away soon had we not gotten her. There is really nothing to her, she was nothing but bones."
Keating says Athena was surrendered to the rescue last week, "I was in complete disbelief when I saw her, especially given that this dog was an owner surrender. The fact that someone would actually have a dog in this condition and not reach out for help weeks ago is very upsetting."
It may be hard to believe when you see her, but Athena has gained weight, "She's still thin but you can see where she is slowly starting to develop muscle. She had none. Her muscle wasting was severe."
Through it all, Athena has been a good patient. Jennifer Nolan is fostering Athena ,"She loves to be close to anything, She loves people and dogs. She's a good girl. She's certainly on the mend, but it is a slow process. We are feeding her small meals every few hours. You can't believe that anyone would think that this is okay."
Athena is just one of a half dozen starvation cases the rescue has dealt with this year. The Pit Crew was taking in Athena last week as we were bringing 13abc viewers the story of Kenzi and Ari. The pups are two of the other emaciated dogs the rescue is caring for, "we often see 2-3 cases a year. We have six cases already and it's only February. It is disheartening. We hope this is the last case like this, but that is probably not reality. One of the toughest things about this, is that we know there are other dogs out there in this same condition that we haven't found."
Keating says there are a lot of people working to bring an end to stories like this in our community, "We've had people we've taken food to several times and then we've worked to connect them with resources on a monthly basis. There is no reason for someone to suffer in silence when there are a lot of things to help people."
If you'd like to help the Lucas County Pit Crew, donations of time, money, supplies and food are always needed.
There are a number of organizations in our community that can help if you find yourself struggling to buy food for your pets. We've posted links. You can also send an email to email@example.com to get help.