Emaciated dog discovered in Branford fighting for her life

BRANFORD --  While driving by the Big Y Plaza on Route 1 in Branford, a woman's eyes were fixed on a dog. Branford's Animal Control Officer, Laura Burban, said that she saw the dog fall down. The woman scooped up the frail female dog and brought her to the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter in Branford.

"We haven't seen a dog quite this emaciated before," said Burban.

On a body condition scale, Burban said this dog is a one on a scale of zero to nine.

"This dog is about half the body weight of what it should be," said Burban, who noted she came in weighing about 30 pounds.

The dog was rushed to an undisclosed area animal hospital for round-the-clock treatment. According to veterinarians, she was within 24 to 48 hours of dying.

"Unfortunately, the dog has bedsores on it and bedsores are typical of being confined to a smaller area such as a crate or a smaller room," noted Burban.

Branford's animal shelter received roughly 150 calls by mid morning Tuesday, with folks anxious for an update on the dog's condition. Some even dropped off checks.

"It just tore at me because it reminded me of a dog we had owned and we had found her on the street and took her in," said Becky Ortega of Guilford.

Aside from obvious abuse, there are other indicators of neglect one can look for, including an animals' mental state.

"Is it bright, alert, responsive," said Dr. Julia Shakeri of Central Hospital for Veterinary Medicine. "When you go to pet that pet, are you feeling its bones or are you feeling some nice muscling."

Burban explained that the shelter named this precious pooch Hope because "we're putting a lot of hope and belief into the fact that we're going to do everything humanly possible to save her."

A new law, which took effect in October, means abused animals in Connecticut finally have a voice. Desmond's Law, named after a dog that was beaten, starved, strangled and killed by its owner, who was given accelerated rehabilitation, allows volunteer advocates to access facts, records and other information regarding the animal, readily share information with each party, and make recommendations to the court.

Animal advocates are hoping the law means more strict enforcement.

"Most of the animal cruelty cases, about 80 percent, do not get prosecuted," said Attorney Jamie Alosi, a criminal defense lawyer in New Haven.

If you would like to donate and assist in Hope's recovery, click here.