A woman who planned to move closer to her boyfriend in Texas packed up her home and filled the trash can one last time. Except this time, Nicole Baker, of New Stanton, Pennsylvania, left her 10-month-old puppy wrapped in a black trash bag among the garbage.
His strength and determination are truly remarkable.
An excruciating three whole days later, garbage collector Nathan Binnie opened the trash can and couldn’t believe his eyes. He saw the subdued young puppy’s face poking out of her plastic bag within. She was emaciated, exhausted, terrified, and barely alive. Binnie took action immediately.
“It was just horrific,” Binnie told WTAE, describing the collie and Labrador mix as “very skinny. You could see every bone; she was shivering and shaking.” He called the humane society, but as he waited for help to arrive, Binnie gave the starving puppy his lunch.
“Animals should be treated with the same respect as humans,” he said. “They’re living and breathing, just like us.”
Officers from the Humane Society of Westmoreland County arrived to collect the dog, previously named “Mia.” The pup was renamed “Fawna” by her rescuers in honor of a new beginning. Astonishingly, Fawna was microchipped, and Baker, by then in Texas having washed her hands of the starving pup, was easily tracked down.
Baker had adopted the puppy just months previously from a Fayette County shelter, and after being contacted, she admitted to dumping the dog of her own volition. “I hate to say it,” said Humane Society police officer Jan Dillon, speaking to WPXI, “but it would have been better if they let the dog loose; at least [she] could have tried to get something to eat.”
Fawna shocked all staff on the vet team when she arrived at the Westmoreland County clinic. She weighed 17 pounds (approx. 8 kg); a dog of her age and breed should have weighed 50 pounds (approx. 23 kg). Fawna was so emaciated that the vet tech was unable to draw blood.
Remember Fawna? Fawna was found in a garbage can. This is Fawna today playing in the yard.
Photographs of the forlorn pup during her first hours of treatment are painful to see.
In addition to the previous dog owner’s admission of guilt, police found incriminating evidence on Baker’s mobile phone. Old text messages intimated that Baker had been contacted about her dog. “She had intentionally misled people that were offering to help when it came to taking care of Mia,” said Trooper Stephen Limani.
Fawna appears to be singing as she thanks Officer Jan Dillon for her day in court. New Owner Megan stands by to take her dog home. Justice for Fawna.
“She acknowledged the fact that at some point in time,” he continued, “she realized what she was doing. She fully knew it was wrong, and still she put a dog, her dog, in a garbage can.”
According to Baker’s attorney, Chris Huffman, Baker pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. She willingly agreed to enter the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program on an animal cruelty charge, and was ordered to pay $600 restitution.
Mercifully, after several days in recovery at the Westmoreland clinic, Fawna’s condition radically improved. Her progress was helped in no small way by a beautiful, budding friendship; staff vet Dr. Megan Fritz fell in love with the sweet pup while treating her, so much so that she decided to adopt Fawna herself.
“She’s acting like a normal dog,” Fritz shared with WPXI two weeks later. “You can definitely tell she’s starting to feel and act so much better. She barks at strangers,” she continued, “she barks at neighbors, and she barks at my cats!”
Fawna wants to thank everyone for coming to the Have a Heart, Pasta Palooza 2015. We had over 350 people and many…
Since fighting her way back to full health, Fawna often takes part in Humane Society fundraisers to help ensure that this extraordinary organization can continue its sterling work. “Fawna wants you to know that lots of animals need rescuing,” the society posted on Facebook.
“She was lucky.”