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GCHS Second Chance Fund continues to save lives

May 22, 2019
By MELISSA BILL ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The Gulf Coast Humane Society's Second Chance fund has saved the lives of countless animals including their poster pup, Sunset, who was found in 2015 on Sunset Boulevard in Lehigh. Sunset became a Gulf Coast Humane Society Second Chance Fund recipient after suffering multiple injuries after being used as a bait dog; a dog used to train other dogs to fight.

"Sunset was adopted by a great couple in Cape Coral, Fl., and serves as an example of why this program is so important. If it wasn't for the Second Chance Fund, Sunset wouldn't have been given a much deserved Second Chance," GCHS executive director Jennifer Galloway said.

Through the Second Chance Fund, GCHS has saved dozens of rescued pets' lives who were either abandoned or left for dead, with no one to pay for their medical bills.

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Duncan had sustained multiple wounds from the neck up, which closely resemble those of a bait dog.


According to Brian Wierima, Gulf Coast Humane Society spokesperson, the GCHS Second Chance Fund has helped countless animals with pasts filled with neglect and abuse.

"Just in the past month we have had four cases alone," Wierima said.

In the majority of these cases, there was no safety net, or support to offer these animals the help, love and comfort they need.

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"Our two most recent cases included two dogs who came in with serious and gruesome injuries, but have made great comebacks," Wierima said.

The most serious case was Xavier, a seven-month-old boxer mix who was a transfer from Arcadia and came in unable to walk. He was diagnosed with three major lower body injuries including a fractured pelvis, which were thought to have resulted from being hit by a car.

Xavier was transferred to Blue Pearl Pet Hospital, where Dr. Jason Eisele performed life-saving surgeries. According to Xavier's foster parents, he is healing well and should be able to play and resume his life as a puppy once again.

"Xavier's bills were substantial, more than $6,000. This is a great example of where the Second Chance Fund really comes into play," Wierima said.

Another disturbing case was that of Duncan, a two-year-old terrier mix, who came as a transfer from Clewiston Animal Control. He had sustained multiple wounds from the neck up, which closely resemble those of a bait dog.

Duncan had gouges and bite marks all over his face and head, typical for a bait dog. We have heard that dog fighters tie up the hind legs and hang them upside down, causing localized injuries to the face and neck region," Wierima explained. "Emotionally and mentally he is an amazing dog, despite his physical wounds. Duncan was adopted two weeks ago and is another success story."

The cost incurred by both Xavier and Duncan's surgeries and rehab have taken a toll on the Second Chance Fund.

"We solely depend on the generosity of the community and donors to keep the Second Chance Fund viable to pay for these medical costs," Galloway said. "People have always stepped up in the past for these animals."

According to Wierima, donations are not the only aspect needed by GCHS, but also the public's awareness in reporting animal abuse.

"There is dog fighting still going on. If you suspect dog fighting, please make that call and report it. We need to be the voice for these innocent animals," Wierima said.

Wierima also urged those who want to rehome their animals to be careful.

"The best thing to do if you have a friendly animal that just needs a new home is to owner-surrender to the Gulf Coast Humane Society, or another shelter. If you do try to rehome yourself, ask questions. Get their driver's license and information. See if you can do a safe home inspection. Otherwise you have no idea where they are going," Wierima said.

To make a donation to GCHS to help fray the costs of caring for future Second Chance dogs, call 239-332-0364 or mail a donation to GCHS, 2010 Arcadia Street, Fort Myers, Fla., 33916.

Or log onto GCHS' website at and click one of the "Donate Now" buttons to make a donation.

To report animal abuse, call 800-780-TIPS. Your call can remain anonymous and there is a $5,000 reward for any tip leading to an arrest in dog fighting.



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