March 20--He had no name and was freezing in the cold, tied to a pole on a street in McAdoo in late January when a borough police officer brought him into the warmth of his vehicle.
It was one of the first steps the white pit bull, Blizzard, would take to finding a permanent home.
Borough police said it was between 4 and minus-2 degrees at 11:30 p.m.Jan. 30 when citizens called Officer Jeffrey Tanner about a dog tied to a street pole in the area of South Kennedy Drive and West Adams Street for about one hour.
Tanner found the pooch shaking and got him into his heated patrol car. The canine's backbone and ribs showed through his fur and he had small scar marks on his face.
Blizzard found himself staying the night at the police station until workers from Hillside Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Pottsville, a no kill shelter, could pick him up the following day.
Police ended up investigating and accused Navib A. Arias, 23, Hazleton, with five counts of animal cruelty and one count each failure to obtain dog license, abandoning a dog and failure to obtain rabies vaccination. Arias awaits a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Stephen Bayer, Tamaqua. Police filed the charges against him Wednesday after he admitted to abandoning the dog because he couldn't afford to care for him, court papers state.
Hillside kennel worker Amanda Richter said Blizzard, named by Hillside workers, came to the shelter like many other pets -- without a home or someone to love him.
She said he was thin and had what appeared to be an untreated skin condition that could have been caused by being kept in the cold. He had three BBs under his skin too. "So he was shot at, at least three times," Richter said, by an unknown person.
Blizzard received medical care through the SPCA and was initially adopted out to a couple that couldn't keep him due to insurance reasons, she said. So Blizzard found himself back at the shelter. Thankfully, she said, another couple took him in.
David Legutko said on Monday he decided to stop by the SPCA in the hopes of adopting any dog. He hadn't heard Blizzard's story yet.
When he walked inside and Hillside workers told him Blizzard's background, he felt terrible for what the dog had been through.
Blizzard warmed up quick to Legutko's girlfriend Melissa Correll and though at first he was scared by Legutko, he ended up placing his head on Legutko's shoulder at the shelter that day once Legutko sat down, Richter said.
Legutko said it didn't take long for Blizzard to warm up to his new family, especially Correll's 10-year-old son, Dylan Harig, who found a new friend in the dog.
Legutko said there's a lot of love in Blizzard's new house and the only time he appears sad is when his buddy Harig leaves for school in the morning. Blizzard, he said, loves to snuggle too.
"He is by my side all the time," he said, though he favors laying on the couch by Correll.
Legutko, who had a shelter dog before, was surprised at how well behaved Blizzard is and couldn't believe someone would leave him in harm's way.
"He's a great dog and a cuddler," he said. Legutko has had pit bulls before and said they are the best, most loyal breed he had the pleasure of owning, so when he saw Blizzard it didn't take long to decide on taking him home.
Blizzard, he said, has a lot to look forward to, including walks in the woods once the weather warms up, Legutko said.
Richter encouraged anyone reading about Blizzard's story to use it as a reason to call police immediately when they notice an animal suspected of being abused or neglected.
His story, she said, should also enlighten others to the many pets available at local shelters who didn't have their story published in the news but would make good pets just like Blizzard has.
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