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Homeless pets in Liberty: Dono's story
Dono is recuperating from injuries he received when he was struck by a vehicle. He was found by the side of the road in Liberty County and is in need of a good home once he is released from the clinic. Vets may need to amputate his hind leg because of his injuries. He is described as a gentle soul.v - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon


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Editor’s note: This is the first in a four-part series depicting the plight of homeless animals in Liberty and Long counties.

Danielle Chrostowski was driving home from Wal-Mart in Hinesville during the late evening hours of July 19 when she saw something laying in the middle of the road.
“It was raining really hard that night and it was in the area of the Cherokee Rose Golf Course. There are no street lights in that area. I almost hit him,” she said.
Chrostowski stopped her car to discover the object in the middle of Highway 84 was a dog that looked like it had been struck by a vehicle sometime earlier.
“He was in bad shape. He just looked awful,” she said.
With good intentions, she picked up the animal and placed him in the back of her car. She stopped at a gas station long enough to check out his injuries and cover him up with some blankets before heading home to Long County.
Once she arrived, Chrostowski made arrangements and took the dog to Savannah Veterinary Emergency Clinic.
“They took a quick look at the dog and told me it probably had a broken leg and that I would need to keep his wounds clean,” Chrostowski said. “But they didn’t take X-rays and they didn’t offer me any antibiotics and they still charged me $120.”
Frustrated, she took the dog back home and called the police to see if they would offer any assistance. After being told by the officials in Long County there was nothing they could do, she looked to a friend for help and advice.
Dawn Johnson owns and operates Passion For Puppies, a dog-breeding referral service offering a variety of breeds from reputable breeders that, like herself, do not tolerate the abuse and cruelty of a puppy mill. She has worked with dogs for mor than 20 years, is a certified obedience trainer and occasionally becomes involved with pet rescues.
“I’ve always tried to help out when someone calls me with something like this,” Johnson said. “When I first saw the dog, he was in so much pain and had road rash around his nose and especially in his hind area and around the genitals, he would not stop licking those affected areas,” she said.
“We named the dog Dono, because we don’t know where he came from and don’t know much about the poor baby,” she  said.
Johnson called  her veterinarian at Cedar Animal Hospital in Richmond Hill and found out medication she already had on hand would be temporarily suitable for the dog’s pain.
Dono is a 3-year-old male Rottweiler mix that was left to roam at will. His story resembles those of many dogs with irresponsible owners.
“He was found in Liberty County, but when Danielle took him home into Long County and then tried to call Animal Control in Liberty County, they would not accept the dog because he was now in Long County and not within their jurisdiction,” Johnson said. “If they would have found him on the streets in Liberty they probably would have just put him down because of his injuries.”
Liberty Humane Shelter also would not take the dog because he was now in Long County,” she said.
Johnson also lives in Long County and knows of several people in the community who share in her dismay at the lack of enforcement regarding animals roaming free.
She described an incident in 1999 when she saw an elderly lady walking her poodle being attacked by a pack of dogs.
“When I called the authorities, the police just told me to shoot the dogs ...” she said.
Johnson went to the magistrate’s office to ask why there are no animal control officers or rescues facilities in Long County and said she was told it cost too much to start one.
She decided she would do what she could for Dono and began posting notices on her Web site about the dog’s plight.
“They are considering amputating his hind leg and found out the poor boy is heartworm positive,” she said. “It seems he has been suffering for longer than we thought.”
Johnson set up a fund at the Cedar Animal Hospital and said the money will be used to cover the expenses for Dono’s care.
“This whole thing made me realize how much work is needed within our community (Long) to homeless animals.
Any funds raised over the amount needed for Dono’s care will be placed in a fund to be  used to cover emergency medical costs in cases like Dono’s.
Dono is currently recuperating at Cedar Animal Hospital in Richmond Hill. A fund is set in his name and donations may be made directly to the Cedar Animal Hospital by calling (912) 756-7560. The fund is under Passion4Puppies, Dono’s fund.
Dono is in desperate need of a new home once he is better and ready to leave the clinic.
Anyone interested in Dono’s plight is asked to call Johnson at (912) 271-9225 or visit
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