By ADAM DRAPCHO, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — About 30 years ago, the New Hampshire Humane Society was brought a dog that was had been tied to a tree in Bridgewater, presumably left to die. The dog, named "Willow" by the animal shelter, made a full recovery, thanks to significant emergency care and was adopted by a loving family. The incident proved two things to the organization – that animals that are even on the brink of death can be rehabilitated to become ideal pets, and second, that the shelter needed to establish a fund so that it could provide life-saving procedures on a moment's notice. Last week, the society's Willow Fund was leveraged twice to help two cats in need of urgent, and in one case, life-saving, care.
"Neglect and cruelty happen, animals do come in that need help ... We're the safe harbor for these animals," said Marylee Gorham-Waterman, executive director of the New Hampshire Humane Society.
On the evening of Thursday, Jan. 28, the Laconia animal control officer delivered an orange-and-white cat, "Razzy", which had already been to a veterinarian in Laconia, where it was suspected that one of the cat's front legs was broken. The cat was sent to the Concord Area Veterinary Emergency Services, where it was determined that both front legs had been broken.
Gorham said that "all points indicate" that the cat had been forcefully kicked down a flight of stairs in a private home in Laconia. The cat's fur was matted, and he was dehydrated, Gorham said, which points to possible neglect prior to the suspected abuse.
A representative from Laconia Police said that there was an "open investigation" into the incident.
"I certainly hope that there will be some accountability for what happened to this cat," said Gorham. "He's in pretty bad shape." One of the legs required the use of pins to reset the bones, and he is currently recuperating at a foster home.
On the same night that "Razzy" was receiving emergency medical care, a family in Belmont discovered another orange-and-white tomcat desperately in need of assistance. Gorham said that a family dog alerted its owners to something under a set of porch steps; when they looked underneath, the found a cat, now named "Olaf," who was curled tightly in a ball. Because it was late in the evening, the family pulled the cat out and gave it a warm bed for the night. When they awoke in the morning, they feared that it had died due to its lack of motion.
"When we looked at him, we found truly the ravages of frostbite," said Gorham. Exposure to the cold had destroyed soft tissues on the rear legs, such that bone was visible. He was dirty and starving, indicating that he was living as a stray for quite some time, though he also had been neutered at some point in his life.
"We don't know how he ended up fending for himself on the streets," Gorham said.
"Olaf" is being cared for at the shelter. Once he regains his strength, he will require surgery to remove a portion of his ear that was damaged by frostbite. His care will require at least $1,200, while "Razzy's" treatment will cost at least $2,000. Those expenses will be paid out of the shelter's Willow Fund.
"Both of these cats are sweet and gentle, just so loving. That's the truly sad part," said Gorham.
Donations to the Willow Fund can be made through nhhumane.org, by mail to P.O. Box 572, Laconia, NH 03246, or by visiting the shelter.
Those who wish to support the shelter while celebrating in Big Easy-style may buy tickets for "Unleashed: Mardi Gras with a Mission," being held at Tavern 27 on Tuesday, Feb. 9, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $54 in advance, or $63 on the day of the event. The fundraiser features a wine and tapas tasting, with live New Orleans-style music, and a Mardi Gras party. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the New Hampshire Humane Society.
Razzle the cat is healing from having two broken legs. (Courtesy Photo)
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