November 27, 2014

Elyria
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Two-legged dog headed out West

VERMILION — It’s hard to imagine that Stumpy could ever be vicious, says Deborah Parker-Garcia — about the worst the little pit bull can manage is to gnaw on your shoelaces.

CARL SULLENBERGER/CHRONICLE
“Stumpy,” a pit bull found with his rear paws cut off, has found a new home.

“It’s amazing to see after what he’s been through how loving he can be,” she said. “Stumpy proves that not all pit bulls are bad.”

A little more than a month ago, Stumpy was found dumped in an overnight drop box at a Florida pound with his rear paws amputated.

A network of animal lovers formed a car chain to take the yearling to the St. Francis Animal Sanctuary in Vermilion, where Parker-Garcia cares for dozens of animals with disabilities.

There are plenty of refugees at her 30-acre safe haven, including dogs with heartworm, frost bite, breast cancer, mange, cleft lips and diabetes — even a little pup named Merlin who uses a wheelchair to get around.

Others were abandoned, starved, neglected or have reached extremely old age.

Right now, Parker-Garcia has almost 50 dogs in her care, as well as horses and a pot bellied pig.
Stumpy has healed in her care, learning to tip-toe on the long bones of his hind legs. Walking on the concrete is still hard for him, Parker-Garcia said.

Tuesday morning, a Lamborghini limousine will take the pup to Hopkins International Airport to catch a Delta Airlines flight to Cheyenne, Wyo., where his new family awaits.

It will be a tearful good-bye for Parker-Garcia, who is glad to see a family adopt a pit bull even as so many communities consider banning the breed.

In March 2006, an Ohio court struck down Toledo’s attempt to outlaw pit bulls in the city. Now, Lorain and other cities across the state are thinking about banning so-called “bully breeds.”

Lorain Animal Control Officer Mike Mattei has said that pit bulls were responsible for 20 percent of all dog bites in the city in 2006.

He had picked up 146 pit bulls this year as of Oct. 23, he said, and 85 percent were euthanized because no one stepped forward to claim them.

But Parker-Garcia says people — not nature — are to blame for how some pit bulls act.

“It’s not the dogs. There has to be another way to go after the people responsible for raising them,” she said.

Pit bulls have been bred by people to fight, she said, and any breed involved in that kind of activity would have the same bad reputation.

For more information about the rescue operation in Vermilion, visit www.saintfrancis
animalsanctuary.org.

Contact Jason Hawk at 653-6264 or jhawk@chroniclet.com.