From Victim To House Pet
Ryan the dog was considered 'evidence' in a cruelty case and spent 2 years in a cage until his owner was convicted. Then he was slated to be euthanized.
In 2008 over 28,000 dogs and cats were killed in county shelters in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. In 2009 the numbers rose to almost 30,000.
Ryan, a young pit bull, barely missed being in those statistics because he and another pup, Matt, were in a cage waiting for a court date. The court date of their owner, to be exact.
The dogs were removed from their home in DeKalb county in 2008 and their owner arrested for animal cruelty. Both dogs had numerous scars and bite marks on their bodies. Considered "evidence" by the county, they were kept in a cage together until their owner could be convicted or exonerated of all charges.
After two years of the case winding through the court system, their owner was finally found guilty.
A win for Ryan and Matt right? Wrong. Once their owner was convicted and the dogs were no longer needed as evidence, they were scheduled to be euthanized.
That's when LifeLine Animal Project stepped in.
Rebecca Guinn, executive director of LifeLine, had them freed from the cage where they had spent the last few years and brought them to LifeLine to be cared for, accessed and rehabilitated. They thrived.
Despite the cruelty and confinement of his former life, the now adult dog adjusted well and proved to be very lively and friendly.
Earlier this year, Ryan was placed in a foster home with Devon Stewart, a doctorate candidate in art history and adjunct professor at both Emory Oxford and Kennesaw State University.
"He stole my heart," said Stewart, 27, who first met Ryan at an event held by Second Life, an upscale resale shop in Avondale Estates.
"He was at the event with a staff member from LifeLine, " she recalled, "and I was sitting down at the store. He came right up to me and started licking my face."
She agreed to foster the almost 3-year-old pit bull with the friendly manner, even though she knew he'd likely never been inside of a house before.
Turns out he took to living outside of a cage and in a home very well.
"At first he didn't know what to make of it, " she said, "He was terrified of the TV and didn't understand the concept of a bed until I picked him up and put him on it."
She laughed, "Now he wants to stay there all the time."
Ryan's instinctive house manners were very good, Stewart said. He didn't chew on anything and didn't use the bathroom indoors. She found him to be very social with smaller dogs and female dogs but not good with cats.
"If my job didn't require that I travel out of the country much of the time there would be no question of my keeping him," she said.
He's now been with her for seven months and she reports that he's more than ready to move to the right adoptive home.
"Pretty much the first two years of his life were the worst conditions a dog could live in, " she lamented, "He deserves to have a good life from now on. I really hope he can find a forever home with a family who will love and spoil him.
"He truly deserves to get to live life as a normal dog, " Stewart continued.
She said that her hope for a new life for Ryan would ideally be one of play dates with dog friends, toys, treats and love. And, of course, a bed.
To learn more or to inquire about adopting Ryan, contact adoptions@LifeLineAnimal.org
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