LUMBERTON — She was abused and left for dead, but Madeline is still a loving dog.
Now she needs someone to love her back.
The severely neglected Labrador retriever was released Tuesday from Southeastern Veterinary Hospital after she was found abandoned with multiple health issues near N.C. 211 on Monday.
Madeline was rescued by Kayla Smith, shelter director at the Robeson County Humane Society. Smith said she saw a pair of teenagers traveling in a white sedan place the dog on the side of the road and she immediately turned around to pick up the animal.
“It’s one of those situations where we wish we would have seen the tags for the people who did this so we could press charges,” she said.
Smith took the dog to the veterinary hospital, where doctors discovered that a collar designed to fit a 5-week-old puppy was lodged deeply into Madeline’s neck. She’s estimated to be 7 months old and had developed an infection as a result of the embedded collar, which required surgery to remove.
“Thankfully, it wasn’t to the point where skin had grown around it, but she would have eventually passed away due to the extent of the infection,” Smith said. “She had a slew of other problems.”
Madeline was riddled with fleas, had mange and was suffering from a severe ear infection, among other issues.
The Robeson County Humane Society is collecting donations to help cover Madeline’s veterinary bills, which could total as much as $2,000, according to Smith.
Smith said, despite everything she’s been through, Madeline is still affectionate toward people. Smith hopes that her story will draw attention to the health risks associated with forcing a pet to wear an inadequately sized collar.
“It’s something that is sadly pretty commonplace,” she said. “It’s an easy fix and we’re hoping that this will enlighten people … .”
Once Madeline is nursed back to health, the society hopes to be able to find her a permanent home.
Smith said she wants to see the people who abandoned Madeline brought to justice.
“If anyone knows who the owner is, we hope they will step forward,” she said.
People with information about the dog’s former owner are asked to call Robeson County Animal Cruelty Investigator Katherine Floyd at 910-671-3199.
To donate to the Robeson County Humane Society, call 910-738-8282 or visit www.robesonhumanesociety.org/donate.