Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  NEWS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives
Democrat Photo by Jeanne Sager
WILLIE, A PUP now living at Glen Wild Animal Rescue, was left to die in Willowemoc. He’s been brought back to health, and he’s ready for a family.

Police Looking for WhoeverAbandoned Pup in Willowemoc

By Jeanne Sager
GLEN WILD — April 30, 2004 – The knock came late Wednesday night.
Mike Yurtch opened the door to a man, holding a puppy in his arms. The dog’s legs were lean and barely able to hold up his slight frame, the paw pads pink and sore.
But his fur was soft, his body smelling of a fresh bath.
Yurtch rushed the man inside and listened to his story, cuddling the young pup.
The man had discovered the dog at an abandoned home in Willowemoc, Yurtch explained.
Driving past for nearly a week, the man saw a lawn strewn with garbage. The house had apparently been abandoned.
After a week had passed, the man assumed no one was coming back. So he stopped his car and decided to have a look around.
He was hoping to find some kind of treasure to bring home.
He wasn’t expecting to find Willie.
The dog was limp and nearly starved to death, locked securely in a kennel.
“He’d been there for at least a week,” Yurtch said.
An animal lover who has golden retrievers at home, the man grabbed the puppy and rushed him home.
He quickly supplied the pup with food and water and gave him a bath.
Then he headed out to find him a home.
According to Yurtch, the man was at a bar in Rock Hill offering the puppy to anyone who was willing to take good care of him.
Someone said, “Take him to Glen Wild Animal Rescue.”
But it was late at night and the shelter was closed.
So instead the man called on the shelter owner – Liz Keller.
Keller wasn’t home when Willie arrived. Yurtch, a shelter employee, was manning the place.
As soon as he laid eyes on the pup, he was as good as saved.
That was a week ago. Willie has since been to Dr. Richard Stein’s veterinary office in Monticello for his shots and an examination.
Stein donated his services to the poor abandoned dog.
Then Keller and Yurtch took him home where they could keep an eye on him, loading his doggie bowl up with food and teaching him once again to trust people.
He’s already gained 4 pounds and regained muscle tone in his spindly legs. He’s starting to socialize, but he still shivers when fear overtakes him.
“This dog was definitely abused,” Keller said. “When you raise your hands to put his collar on, he shuts his eyes.”
Willie, named for Willowemoc, the hamlet where he was discovered, shies away from tall people. He cowers behind Yurtch, who he has adopted as a father figure.
He’ll accept a treat from a stranger, but he’s unsure of hands reaching in to scratch his ears.
The pup is just 4 or 5 months old. He’s just joined the 4-H dog obedience course for shelter animals that Keller runs at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Liberty.
Someday he’ll make someone a good pet. He’s loving and cute. A black circle around his eye is reminiscent of Petey, the dog of “Lil’ Rascals” fame.
But Keller, and the New York State Police, want to know what happened to him.
They are looking for any information that might lead them to the people who abused Willie, who left him to die.
The irony, Yurtch said, is that anyone who wants to abandon a dog can do so.
“Why did they lock him up?” he asked. “The stupid thing is, if they were taking off, they could have just let him go.”
Yurtch doesn’t support abandoning a pet, but allowing the dog to run free would have granted him access to food and water, maybe given him the chance to run into a neighbor’s yard where he could be taken care of.
If it weren’t for a curious passerby, Willie would surely have starved to death in that crate, Yurtch said.
Anyone who has information about Willie’s history or the people who abandoned him should call the New York State Police at 292-6600 or Glen Wild Animal Rescue at 434-7191.
Willie is available for adoption by a family with good references. For more information on taking him home, call the shelter.

top of page  |  home  |  archives