ORLANDO – During the summer months, Orange County Animal Services sponsored a series of special events designed to encourage people to adopt the cats and dogs being harbored at the shelter, a place that had exceeded its capacity.
But the shelter also has another mission: to provide rescue, safety and treatment for abused animals. The city got a reminder of that mission this week, when the shelter dealt with a sad and horrific case of animal abuse.
Diane Summers, media spokeswoman for the shelter, noted that they got a call from a concerned citizen on Thursday.
“The call was about Zola, a dog reported to be in poor condition,” she noted in a release.
An Animal Services officer was sent out to the home, and “found a severely emaciated dog unable to stand, but struggling to wag her tail.”
Zola was taken from the house and brought to the shelter at 2769 Conroy Road in Orlando for medical care and treatment. The staff, Summers noted, was shocked to see the animal’s terrible condition.
“Zola was found covered in fleas lying on a floor soaked with both urine and feces,” she wrote.
Zola is now in the custody of Animal Services and receiving care from a local veterinarian.
“Both staff and veterinary workers are hoping she will make it through this ordeal,” Summers wrote.
The former owner was arrested by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, and charged with cruelty to animals, a third-degree felony.
“Orange County Sherriff’s Office is handling the criminal charges while Animal Services is handling the care of the animal,” Summers noted.
She added that she hopes this case raises awareness of the need to protect, and defend, animals.
“Animal Services is taking this opportunity to remind citizens to report any suspected or witnessed animal abuse,” she wrote.
Reports can be made anonymously through Crimeline by calling 1-800-423-TIPS, or by dialing 3-1-1.
Orange County Animal Services is the region’s largest pet rescue and adoption center, and it received nearly 23,000 animals in 2013.
The shelter has been serving the region for more than 40 years, with the mission of protecting the animals of Orange County, and giving abandoned and neglected pets a second chance to live long, healthy lives in safe, loving homes.
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