Public Safety

Marion man cited for animal abuse after severely injuring rescue dog

Tilly, a 5-year-old Staffordshire terrier mix that is a rescue dog, was severely injured over the weekend in her foster home, Marion police said.
Tilly, a 5-year-old Staffordshire terrier mix that is a rescue dog, was severely injured over the weekend in her foster home, Marion police said.

MARION — Police cited a Marion man this weekend after a rescue dog in his home was severely injured.

Dennis Greene, 61, of Marion, was cited for animal abuse, an aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years in prison, police said.

The dog, a 5-year-old Staffordshire terrier mix named Tilly, is owned by Last Hope Animal Rescue and was placed with Greene on a foster basis, according to the police report.

Police said Greene admitted to intentionally kicking the dog, causing internal bleeding and head trauma.

“Everyone in our organization is just reeling,” said Amanda Rushton, Last Hope Animal Rescue’s dog intake coordinator. “We work so hard to save animals and rescue them from bad situations and to have one of our dogs end up in a bad situation, right in our own backyard, is horrifying.”

Rushton said she was alerted to the incident at about 9:45 p.m. Saturday. She notified police and took the dog to a veterinarian.

“She was bleeding internally, and she had head trauma,” she said. “The dog couldn’t even stand up she’d been hurt so badly.”

The dog’s ruptured spleen was removed, and she’s had transfusions, Rushton said.

Tilly will survive, though her long-term prognosis has not been assessed, Rushton said.

The vet bills have exceeded $7,000, she said.

Tilly came to Iowa about three years ago from a rescue organization in Helena, Ark., Rushton said.

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“She was heartworm positive when we got her, and she needed a lot of critical care before she was healthy enough for foster care,” Rushton said.

The rescue organization, she said, has never before had issues with animals placed in foster care.

The organization conducts background, reference and home checks on foster families or adopters, Rushton said.

“We want to find the perfect homes for our animals,” she said.

Last Hope Animal Rescue, an all-volunteer organization, relies on donations and grants to meet its expenses. It has 116 animals, including dogs, cats and rabbits, and another 25 or so undergoing long-term medical care.

A majority of the animals are placed in foster homes, where they are socialized, trained and cared for.

Rushton said the incident speaks to Iowa’s weak position on animal abuse.

“Animal abuse in Iowa remains a misdemeanor, and we rank 49th in the nation for our animal protection laws,” she said. “That’s something that needs to change.”

Senate File 2181, a bill that would have strengthened Iowa’s animal cruelty laws, was introduced in the Iowa Legislature earlier this year, but was not acted on.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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