This past Wednesday, a trial was held to determine the custody rights of Victory. Her original owners had come forward stating they had been looking for her since she went missing, and wanted her back. When questioned, they argued that the dog’s shocking appearance was due to disease and not abuse. Following testimony from Animal Control officers, Victory’s original owners, concerned neighbors who had contacted Animal Control, veterinarians, and me, I am happy to say the presiding judge ruled that Victory remain in the care of Austin Pets Alive!. We are thrilled with this outcome and can ensure that she will get the best of care going forward.
The trial was very long and difficult for everyone involved. As I listened to them speak, it was apparent to me that Victory’s original family was sincere and loved her. Ultimately, I believe the judge ruled in our favor because the family wasn’t able to juggle Victory’s intense medical needs with obligations of family and work. Victory’s health and well-being was forced lower on the family’s priority list, and Austin Pets Alive! holds those needs as a priority. We, just like everyone else, initially thought that Victory was the victim of a terrible violent act. It is easy for that anger to move towards anyone involved in her previous care, but I don’t believe that these people were malicious. Victory’s well-being was lost sight of, and because of that she suffered. It is an important reminder that neglect isn’t always intentional, but its impact remains.
On to the the good stuff… Victory’s new life begins now! We are ready to look at applications for her adoption. She had a follow-up appointment with her dermatologist last week, and we will be speaking with them about surgery. This is something we had planned for, but we need to assess whether or not the surgical site will erode as well, now that we know there is a disease process occurring. We will certainly keep you updated on how these details move forward. We will also keep you updated through this blog on Victory’s general recovery, as well as the exciting movement toward finding Victory a permanent family to love and take care of her!
The story around Victory was shared by us and covered by numerous news outlets. A “sensational” case such as Victory’s compels people to act, and act you did. You helped us get the word out to find the owners, you spoke out against animal neglect, and you sent in donations to cover Victory’s medical care. Because of your good-will, we are no longer accepting donations for Victory. Her financial needs have been graciously met by you.
Because there are still people asking how they can help, Austin Pets Alive! has created a fund in Victory’s honor, appropriately named the Victory Fund. For every case like Victory, there are hundreds of other animals in need that we receive and care for. They typically don’t receive the media coverage or rallying support behind them, but their lives depend on APA! for medical care just as much as Victory did. We are creating the Victory Fund to support those animals that the nightly news doesn’t cover. Every dollar this fund receives will go directly to our dogs and cats who are suffering because of neglect, cruelty, or injury. If Victory touched your heart, we hope you will turn that energy into a donation to the Victory Fund and support the good that people can bring. Our non-profit organization took in over 500 medical cases alone from local shelters last year, and those forgotten pets definitely would have been euthanized if we had not been here. We hope you will continue to support the animals that need our help the most.
Dr. Ellen Jefferson
Executive Director, Austin Pets Alive!
To donate to the Victory Fund, please select the Donate tab at the top of our website, and enter “Victory Fund” in the Dedication box.