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Neglected Dog Recovering Well at Shelter

Police found him last month alone in Glen Cove home, emaciated with severe skin and coat problems.

It's been six weeks since police found a 6-year-old Shepherd cooped up with no food or water and in poor health, and the dog's temperament and physical condition have improved dramatically, according to Cesar Villalobos, kennel manager at the Glen Cove Animal Shelter.

"He was in bad shape," said Villalobos, who has been with the shelter for 14 years. "In Glen Cove I've never seen anything like this."

Sheldon, as the dog is known at the shelter, arrived malnourished with patches of hair missing, a skin infection and a severe flea infestation.

He was rescued Aug. 6 when the Glen Cove Police Department received a call about an Eldridge Place residence from a neighbor who was concerned that they could hear the dog barking but had not seen him or the home's residents in several days. The caller reported that nobody was answering the door and mail was overflowing in the mailbox, a police spokesperson said.

Police responded and searched the house, finding the dog in a back room with no food or water available, police said.

Officers contacted the Glen Cove Animal Lovers League and the dog was handed over to Villalobos.

"He was growling in his cage the first night," said Villalobos on Monday, standing outside the shelter as he pulled on a leash to keep an energetic Sheldon from circling him too quickly. "Before, you couldn't even get close to him."

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Sheldon has put on 30 pounds since he arrived, said shelter co-founder Joan Phillips, who called him "severely underweight for his size" when he was rescued.

While his behavior with people is still somewhat unpredictable, she said his response so far to all the new exposure is encouraging.

Villalobos said that although adoption to a new home is the ultimate goal, Sheldon's future will remain uncertain at least until the case against his owners, Carol Duchnowski, 55, and son Milo, 19, is resolved.

Each is charged with one count of cruelty to animals, a Class A misdemeanor. The case is being prosecuted by the Animal Cruelty Unit of the Nassau County District Attorney's Office and will be heard in Glen Cove City Court on Sept. 25.

Phillips said that before the Animal Cruelty Unit was formed in 2010, abuse and neglect cases often fell short of being treated as criminal offenses.

She said that understanding how owners can treat animals as harshly or neglectfully as they sometimes do requires a simple shift in perspective.

"The dog is not a sentient being to them," she said of many such cases. "It's as if they had an alarm system. It could also be a lack of education as to an animal's needs."

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Pazzo September 18, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Perhaps something happened to the owner. Why would someone abandon their home with a dog tied up in the back? The neighbor was a good citizen.
sam September 18, 2012 at 02:55 PM
What ever you do "DON'T GIVE THAT DOG BACK O THEM"if they had problems they could have brought the poor pup to the shelter to be cared for. Tie them up for several days without water!!!!
Joan Phillips September 18, 2012 at 11:35 PM
His life was saved because someone cared and "said something". Too often we are notified too late. It's hard to comprehend what a dog can suffer and still wag his tail and forgive. Breaks my heart. Joan Phillips
Pazzo September 19, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Yes, too often people don't want to get involved.
m b September 19, 2012 at 01:14 PM
I have seen another dog (small dog) and a cat or two at that residence. Has anyone seen/heard of them?
Dr. Sarah Alward September 22, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Joan and Cesar are amazing and they work tirelessly on behalf of abused, unwanted and neglected animals. It is hard to believe that humans can do this kind of thing, but believe me, I've seen a ton of it. Kudos to Glen Cove Animal Lovers League for all of their hard work. XOXO

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