If you saw 4-year-old black Labrador mix Apollo now, you’d see a happy, 50-pound dog. But if you’d seen him a month ago, you would have found a malnourished animal on the brink of death.
Apollo weighed only 29 pounds when he was brought into an Oswego, New York shelter on Dec. 13. His body temperature was 10 degrees below normal and he was so weak he could barely stand. Workers at the Paws Across Oswego County Animal Shelter thought his survival prospects were grim at best.
“We didn’t think he’d make it through the night,” representative Marjorie Wentworth told Syracuse.com. "We had no idea if the dog had an owner. We were more concerned with making sure he survived. He could only walk a few steps and would fall down. He had to lay down to eat because he was too weak to stand."
After some deliberating, the shelter decided to post a picture of the emaciated Apollo in hopes of tracking down his owner. Soon, several people came forward claiming to know who he belonged to. Those witnesses then collaborated with New York State Police to have Apollo’s owner, Deena M. Rossi, arrested. She has been charged with one count of torturing or injuring an animal.
Here, courtesy of Paws Across Oswego County, is a before and after picture of Apollo:
Wentworth is now using Apollo’s story as a platform to raise awareness about animal abuse.
"Come forward when you see abuse," she says. "Take photos, take videos, make a timeline. It's important to work with police. If you're not willing to do that then we don't have a case and police can't make an arrest. We're standing up. We're not going to put up with it anymore."
Wentworth says the campaign isn’t about justice for Apollo — he doesn’t need it. It’s about preventing other animals from enduring the same torture he did.
“We don’t want justice for Apollo,” she says. “Animals forgive and forget. They are better than humans. He loves everyone. We want to be advocates for Apollo and put an end to animal abuse.”