Mia – A Lucky Dog from Lyons
On Monday, May 3, Lyons resident Caroline Merritt visited the Lyons Police Department to report an abandoned dog. Mia, as the dog is now known, had completely lost the use of her back legs and was discovered in a deep ditch near Mrs. Merritt’s home. At 83 years of age, Mrs. Merritt was unable to rescue the dog herself since the ditch was deep and filled with water. Despite several calls for help made to 911 over a twoday period, Mrs. Merritt’s messages were not passed along and she had no response to her appeals until she went to the Police Department to report the abandoned dog inperson. Thanks to a group effort between Mrs. Merritt, Lyons police officers, SOAPS (Sweet Onion Animal Protection Society), and a rescue group in Pennsylvania, this story has a happy ending. “Back in March, we hired a marketing firm out of Statesboro for a recruitment campaign for police officers. I’ve advertised… but I haven’t had any luck getting any high-quality applicants,” Chief Wesley Walker explained. “So we hired this marketing firm and actually targeted big cities like Atlanta, Macon and Savannah in hopes that we would catch someone who was thinking of relocating, getting out of the big city, but still wanted to be in law enforcement. And it worked! We picked up two good officers. They were already certified, both had some experience, and they were both out of Atlanta.” It was one of these new officers, Gabriel Ornellas, who aided in Mia’s rescue.
Officer Ornellas was in the office when Mrs. Merritt came in to report the abandoned dog. “She was upset, couldn’t get anybody to help her. He recognized it, and said ‘Ma’am, I’m going to help you.’ And he followed her back around there [to where the dog was],” Chief Walker said. SOAPS was called and within a few hours, they had arranged for the police officer to take Mia to the vet. They also located a rescue center in Pennsylvania that would accept Mia, get her the therapy she needs, and find a family to adopt her. “I can’t say enough about SOAPS. They jumped on board and helped us take care of this dog immediately. They went and talked to the vet and made arrangements for a rescue [organization] to come pick the dog up and transport her,” Walker shared. Mia’s new friends have already had her fitted for a pet wheelchair with back wheels that will enable her to walk again.
“We do the animal control for both the city of Lyons and the county, so we get calls all the time,” Chief Walker said. “SOAPS and other rescues in the area help us in trying to find homes for these dogs that are put in these situations where they’re abandoned or dumped out like this one.” Mia’s story is “the perfect example of how law enforcement, animal rescues, animal control, [and community members] are all working together to make sure the dog is taken care of and placed in a home.”