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The dog only love could save

by WayneTimes.com
August 26, 2023

 This is a very unusual case. It is too easy to assign blame, or is it? Just how far on the spectrum of humanity is a dog’s life worth the effort?

Bo, a nine year-old Bloodhound has seen the worst and best of life. He has endured pain and love,, and only escaped a sure death due to people around the county, state and country willing to sacrifice for that love he most needed.

Bloodhounds, like many breeds, have built-in health problems and are a concern for any potential owner of this beloved breed. While these dogs are known for their exceptional tracking skills, they are also prone to certain health conditions that require close attention and care. These health conditions can be quite serious and require continual and expensive veterinary treatments. This case proves that if you’re not prepared to deal with health problems in your Bloodhound, it’s best not to adopt one of these dogs. 

Veterinarian records show Bo’s owner,  Zachary Paul Smith, age 29, of 3804 Huntley Road in the Town of Marion, had spent time and money on Bo’s health issues, but was ready to throw  in the proverbial towel. Either Bo would die a slow, painful death, or someone in the wings would take up the cause. 

Smith had reached out to animal welfare people through friends and sources, looking for someone, anyone to adopt the ailing dog. Meanwhile, the questionable surrender led to ostracizing the dog to abuse, an outdoors life, and demeaning level of care.

Bo’s body was not only decaying from disease, but an obvious lack of food and required medical treatment. The rotting flesh and oozing puss, the smell and overall condition declined by the hour.

On August 29, 2021, in 93 degree weather, the lifeline Bo needed showed up on Smith’s doorstep. Tiffany Amalfi-Speck, who resides in Webster, had heard of Bo’s life through the animal grapevine. Even she was shocked at how far the dog’s life had declined since its last vet visit in February.

Yes, this was both a case of overall health, but also a level of animal abuse.

Tiffany took over Bo’s life as both Smith and his then live-in girlfriend, Megan Halsey,  signed over  ownership of the dog. It was obvious by the visible bones showing on Bo that Tiffany sensed that Smith and Halsey, had decided the dog’s fate. The 80 pound weight for the breed and size was almost half of what was  normal.

Upset with what she discovered, two avenues were obvious to Tiffany. First, get Bo the food and medical services he desperately needed. 

Bo was taken to Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. There, the infections, made worse by neglect, were treated with scores of medications. The visible weight loss slowly showed signs of progress.

Doctors also discovered a cancerous tumor that was removed. Initially, the dog’s impending and current hearing loss was feared unmanageable. A surgeon soon put the hearing issue in the conquered category.

Still, there was lime disease and worms to deal with.

Bo now lives with a watchful eye for any signs of the once deep infections. Daily eye drops and a ravishing appetite became facts of life. Upon his  match with Tiffany, Bo soon added 10 pounds of recovery each week

An eye lift and some tissue removal was required for the infected  eyes and surrounding tissue.  The once emaciated dog now hovers in the happy 150 weight category.

The canine’s fear of male humans, especially those wearing hats, is unfortunately ingrained in the dog’s mind and only a few men have earned a degree of trust, and have dared enter Bo’s  realm.

The costs!

Luckily, once Bo became Tiffany’s trusted friend, a Facebook page was set up detailing the dog’s past life. Local rescue groups and people throughout the country took up the cause. They became ‘Bo’s Army’ of supporters and contributions started arriving.

Brindle Posse Rescue and Senior Sanctuary raised $8,280 to go toward  Bo’s medical expenses and the  famous ‘Bo the Bloodhound’ shirts. A ‘Go-Fund Me’ page garnered more recovery funds, with  fundraiser and t-shirt sales aiding in the well-over $11,000 in bills.

The legal ramifications

Besides the medical issues, Tiffany would not let go of the dog’s obvious abuse. She put pressure on local police, and the Wayne County District Attorney’s Office to bring some semblance of justice. 

Feet dragging, and busy legal channels be damned, Tiffany became a voice of nuisance for Bo. As the weeks turned into months and eventually years, time was running out. The statute of limitations on the crime was fast approaching. Tiffany continued her tirade with the help of the Law Offices of Matthew Albert, an animal lover who took the case pro bono. The pressure continued and over the past several  months, Tiffany and Matthew met with Wayne County DA Mike Calarco. No excuses would be taken.

Calarco, after reviewing the case conceded. The State Troopers out of Williamson were asked to arrest only Smith. On August 15, one week before the statute of limitations would make the situation null, Smith was charged with Agriculture and Markets Law 353: Overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance. 

Wayne DA Calarco has decided to present the findings and case to a Wayne County Grand Jury.

"Due to these complexities, the case will be presented to the Grand Jury for review. There are a variety of situations where people may become unable to care for an animal.  We want people to seek help in those situations.  Creating an environment where people fear being charged with a crime if they ask for help can lead to poor, or even tragic, outcomes for animals in need.”

Smith and Halsey are no longer a couple, but have a child in common.  Halsey was not charged.

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