Injured dog’s owner responds to angry critics

Carmen Jaramillo
cjaramillo@ptleader.com
Posted 7/17/19

On July 10, The Leader published the story of a wolf hybrid dog who had been dragged behind a car and the resulting interactions between two local animal rescue organizations. Two days later, the owner of the dog, whom The Leader chose not to name in the first story, came to the Leader office to address harsh online critics.

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Injured dog’s owner responds to angry critics

Posted

On July 10, The Leader published the story of a wolf hybrid dog who had been dragged behind a car and the resulting interactions between two local animal rescue organizations. Two days later, the owner of the dog, whom The Leader chose not to name in the first story, came to the Leader office to address harsh online critics.

Michael Allmain said he has been severely distraught by the public attention surrounding what he describes as a freak accident that injured his dog.

Allmain said he bought Moses four years ago and that the pair have been inseparable.

“He’s well taken care of,” said Allmain. “Always has been. He eats better than I do.”

Allmain said the incident happened when he was driving in Irondale in April, with Moses leashed inside the bed of his truck with a canopy over the top.

It was a hard shift of his manual transmission while driving uphill that he says made a plastic pallet in the bed of the truck shift, throwing Moses up against the door and knocking it open, sending him out while still leashed to the inside of the canopy.

Allmain said he didn’t know anything was wrong until another driver flashed their lights, indicating him to pull over. He said by the time he stopped, Moses’ leash had broken and when he got out of the car, he saw the dog take off into the woods.

Allmain described a long search for the dog in the area where the incident occurred lasting two days. After Allmain could not find Moses, he said he filed a report to the Sheriff’s office, making them aware of the missing dog and the incident.

When the dog was found it was brought by a deputy to Center Valley Animal Rescue. Moses remained there for three weeks, where he underwent extensive medical treatment and multiple surgeries. While under their care, Center Valley publicized the incident and related updates about the dog’s progress on their Facebook page. Allmain said he was told the dog would need to be evaluated for signs of neglect before being returned to him. He said while Moses was receiving treatment at Center Valley, he was not allowed to see him and no one interviewed him to assess his care of the dog.

The Leader reported July 10 licensed volunteer veterinarians at Center Valley identified signs of neglect in the dog which they believe must have been the result of prolonged neglect before the incident.

Sara Penhallegon, Center Valley Animal Rescue director, said the dog had chronic infection that would have been the result of six months to a year’s worth of neglect. She said this presents as leathery, stiff and black skin as well as sores and hot spots.

“His ears were stiff and thick and that doesn’t happen in a couple of days, it takes months and months,” she said.

She said the dog was starving and had muscle degeneration, which she said also could only have been the result of months of malnutrition.

Allmain said he did not believe the animal had chronic infection when it was sent to Center Valley, but instead a skin condition which he said he attempted to treat with a veterinarian. He said he believes the malnutrition they observed was the result of separation anxiety the dog was experiencing leading up to the incident because of changes in Allmain’s living situation. He said Moses had not been eating as much as normal because of this and the condition was exacerbated by being lost for several days after being dragged behind the truck.

Penhallegon said while Moses was at Center Valley he showed no signs of separation anxiety, which they frequently deal with, and was eating non-stop once he arrived.

When he arrived she said veterinarians had him on “starvation protocol,” feeding him small amounts of food every two to three hours so as not to let him overeat and shock his system. She said while in their care he gained twenty pounds and had almost returned to a normal weight when he left.

Penhallegon said there are plenty of resources available for low-income pet owners in Jefferson County that Allmain could have used to care for his dog before the incident.

“Just saying he doesn’t have money isn’t really a defense because there are other things you can do,” she said. “If you can’t take care of your animal, finding another place for them is the responsible thing to do.”

Allmain said he believes Center Valley’s publicization of his dog’s story was a bid to bolster donations from the public and rally people against him to take his dog and give it to another owner.

Volunteers at Center Valley also began to call him “Roadie,” a reference to the severe road rash he had as a result of the incident. Allmain said he was offended by this nickname.

“They had absolutely no right to do what they did,” he said. “They were not as concerned with the dog as they say they were.”

Penhallegon said they received no public financial support for the care of the dog besides from the woman who originally found him and a friend of hers.

“Our only reason to publicize this was to stop the dog from being returned to a neglectful owner,” she said.

Allmain said he felt as if the dog’s transfer from Center Valley to the Humane Society was meant to hide Moses from him, so he would not know where he was and they could “run out the clock” and label Moses as abandoned.

Allmain said he wanted to come forward with his story because he believes people were too quick to judge the situation without knowing all the facts. He said it’s hard enough already to find a job in Jefferson County and so he wants to clear his name.

As reported by The Leader July 10, the Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating animal cruelty charges against Allmain. Prosecutor James Kennedy said prosecutors are hoping to make a determination by the end of the month.

Comments

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Marge Samuelson

The good news is the dog was found by someone who knew where to take him for care. Although I can sympathize with the dogs owner maybe he should let the dog go to someone with a more stable situation. That is what is best for animals.

Wednesday, July 17
Tom Camfield

I likely was a dog in an earlier life. I"ve inserted myself into their lives for 90 years and have never been bitten. I've never met a dog I didn't like, or at least didn't understand. Dogs are the most loyal creatures on earth, no matter how badly treated, which makes the situation of so many of them so heart-rending. They give so much and too often receive so little in return. Many suffer and die in silence, ever yearning for a pet or kind word. Some die of human cruelty; some die of human stupidity; some die of general disregard.

Whatever may come of all this, I stand with the dog

Wednesday, July 17