RAVENNA, Ohio-- Humane officers at the Portage County APL are caring for a dog found wandering and afraid, a choker collar literally growing into her neck.
The dog was seen near a pond. Obviously in pain, she would not let the property owner approach, so that person alerted humane officials that the animal needed help.
"If I remember correctly, it was cold that day. It had been freezing rain, rain mix, that kind of stuff and we definitely didn't want her staying out," said Humane Officer Kathy Cordaro, explaining that at the time they didn't know she was as wounded as she turned out to be.
"She was limping around. We actually thought her leg might have been broken, but it was because the collar was under her armpit," said APL Executive Director Chalan Lowry.
The animal warden was able to safely lure the hungry dog with hot dogs.
That's when they discovered that about 12 inches of the 18-inch collar had grown into her neck.
The pup was taken to a local veterinarian where the collar was surgically removed.
"It definitely doesn't grow in overnight for sure," said Lowry, explaining, "I think you can imagine on your own neck even if you have a necklace on that was too tight, it wouldn't happen immediately. It's not like you would wake up in the morning with a necklace embedded in your neck."
The APL has researched its missing dog records trying to find the dog's owners.
"No reports, no microchip, no tags, no nothing; so we dont know where she came from. She could have had a great home; she could have had a not great home," said Lowry.
"These are the sad stories in a way because you don't know where she came from. Did she have a good home at some point? Was she well cared for and just got loose and has been running around for weeks trying to find her owner?" added Lowry.
The dog, an apparent German Shepherd mix, is recovering in an isolation area of the Portage APL. She has been given the name Noel.
Although she appears to have become somewhat less scared, she is still not comfortable when people enter the room.
Humane officials aren't sure if that is because of her injuries or whether she has been mistreated.
"We'll just keep working with her and hopefully as her wounds heal, her spirit will heal and we can move forward and get her adopted," said Cordaro.
"I have hope," said Lowry, concluding, "She seems like a sweet dog. She just needs some time and some love and to learn to trust really."