On Nov.12, Yani, a pitbull puppy, was brought to the Humane Society of Berks County’s Veterinary Services Department with a badly fractured front right leg. The puppy’s owners could not afford the surgery necessary to correct the break. Humane Society staffers decided to perform the procedure – a full amputation of the broken leg - and return the puppy to her owners.
“The owners clearly loved their dog, but were unable to pay for the surgery,” said Karel Minor, HSBC Executive Director.
“In this case, we were able to remove Yani’s broken leg for relatively little cost and send her back home.”
Unfortunately, continuing financial problems meant that Yani’s owners were unable to provide follow-up care after her surgery, and Yani was returned to the HSBC, this time as a resident in the shelter’s adoption kennel.
Dogs, particularly puppies, with amputated legs can live full and healthy lives.
“Yani has made a quick and full recovery from her surgery,” said Dr. Stephen Long, the HSBC staff veterinarian who performed the amputation.
“She’s active and playful, and has adapted very well to her new circumstances.”
Amputations for severely broken limbs were once rare at the HSBC because they required outside surgical assistance. Since the addition of veterinary facilities and staff, these surgeries are now provided in-house more routinely. “In these cases, the fractures are severe enough that setting and splinting the bones would not have been an option,” said Dr. Long. “Amputation is often the only way to ensure that these dogs have a good quality of life.”
In the past, said Minor, the dogs might not have lived at all. “As recently as two years ago, a dog entering a shelter with a broken leg would probably have faced euthanasia,” he said. “We used to rely on outside veterinarians to perform complicated procedures, and the cost was so prohibitive that we often could not afford it.” Since the creation of the HSBC Veterinary Services Department, which treats animals owned by the public as well as those in the shelter’s care, the HSBC finds that it can treat severe cases like Yani’s more often. “Since we’re performing the procedure in-house, we’re able to absorb some of that cost, but not all.” According to Minor, the Humane Society will provide about $250,000 in direct veterinary care for the homeless animals at its three adoption centers. “We are able to save some funds by doing things in our own centers but saving these lives is still quite expensive.” He added, “Our ability to save animals is tied directly to the donations we receive from the community.”
Yani is now available for adoption at the Humane Society of Berks County’s Lindy Scholar Center in Reading. “Our veterinary staff was able to give Yani a second chance at life,” said Minor. “So now we’re hoping that the third time is the charm and she’ll find a happy and loving home.”
The Humane Society of Berks County serves all of Southeastern Pennsylvania and surrounding regions. It is a private, non-profit organization funded through donations and service fees. In addition to enforcing Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws for all of Berks County, the Humane Society provides adoption services, spay and neuter services, humane education, pet behavioral counseling, veterinary services to the general public, and helps stray, injured and mistreated animals. The Humane Society has three animal welfare centers located at 1801 N. 11th Street, Reading; 1201 Ben Franklin Highway E., Douglassville; and 503 S. Center Road (Rte. 82), Birdsboro.
Update December 28, 2010 12:51am - The following article is by Greta Cuyler, Reading Eagle:
Dog finds home, many more wait in shelters
Yani, a 2-month-old pit bull puppy, was recently adopted from the Humane Society of Berks County Inc.
This was no ordinary dog: Yani had suffered a broken leg that was later amputated, then his owners were forced to give him up due to financial issues.
The Humane Society put the word out that this dog deserved a permanent, loving home, which he got, one day later.
While visiting Yani, I couldn't help but notice several other adorable dogs and puppies who also need homes.
There were purebred dogs and mutts, puppies and full-grown dogs.
I studiously avoided the cat room lest I bring home a third cat. But a quick glance told me there are many cute cats looking for a new home.
If you're in the market for a furry companion, please consider a shelter pet.