Animal activists and dog lovers alike continue to fight to have Chuckie, a 10-year-old yellow lab, released from the First State Animal Center and SPCA (FSAC & SPCA) in Kent County. Chuckie has been held by FSAC & SPCA for almost five weeks after he got loose from his home in Bear, D.E.
Fight to "Free Chuckie" Continues
Chuckie was originally presumed to have been hit by a car when he first came to FSAC & SPCA. After a photo of Chuckie was circulated on Facebook, the owner, who did not want to be identified, was located. However, when the owner went to pick up Chuckie,the Director of FSAC & SPCA Kevin Usilton allegedly threatened to euthanize Chuckie and said he would never release the dog to the owner.
Since then, the owner has been charged with animal cruelty and neglect for failure to seek proper veterinary treatment. The owner, however, says he's been treating the dog for a pre-existing condition of acral lick granuloma, which is when a dog will incessantly lick certain areas as a reaction to stress to the point of causing open sores.
The owner also has made claims that FSAC & SPCA and Delaware Animal Care and Control have come to his address and attempted to trick and force him into signing over the rights to his dog, though these statements have not been proven.
“They can try to burn me,” the owner says. “They’ve made it so I don’t have a dog anymore.”
The owner also states that a recent photograph of Chuckie posted on Hope for Delaware Dogs, a Facebook page that routinely posts photographs of dogs in Delaware animal shelters that have not been claimed by their owners and need foster homes, reveals a new wound on Chuckie’s right shoulder that was not there when the dog was initially taken in by FSAC & SPCA.
Captain of Delaware Animal Care and Control Sherri Warburton says that Chuckie is doing better, not worse, now that he is at FSAC & SPCA.
“He’s no longer self-mutilating,” Warburton says. “His wounds are actually healing with the proper vet care that he needed.”
Warburton also says the wounds on his legs were initially believed to be road rash, a common sign that a dog has been hit by a car, leading to the initial post describing the dog as having been in a car accident. After further evaluation, the wounds were determined to be an ongoing problem that was not properly treated.
“If the owner had followed a treatment prescribed by a veterinarian properly, then he [Chuckie] would not be in this situation,” says Warburton.
She states that Delaware Animal Care and Control has offered the owner the option to surrender all rights to the dog to FSAC & SPCA. If the owner signs over his rights, Chuckie will be returned to the House of Hope Animal Rescue in Elkton, M.D., who fostered the dog before his current owner. If the owner chooses to keep his rights to the dog, Chuckie will remain at FSAC & SPCA until after the owner is tried for the cruelty and neglect charges.
“House of Hope came by [FSAC & SPCA] to play with Chuckie and see he is okay,” Warburton says. “They stepped forward and want to take Chuckie back.”
NBC10 obtained copies of medical records for Chuckie from 2010 and 2012 that describe the dog as having acral lick granuloma. The records were from previous owners and fosters of Chuckie before he was adopted by the current owner. NBC10 also obtained invoices and a note from the current owner’s veterinarian signed and on letterhead from Chuckie’s most recent visit on May 20, 2013. FSAC & SPCA cannot comment at this time due to the open investigation against the owner of Chuckie.