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Fever's Story

Below, you will read the story of a greyhound whose adoption resulted in the adopter being charged for Felony Animal Abuse under the laws in the State of New Mexico, district of Bernalillo County. This story is uplifting in that Fever survived overwhelming odds to live out her life in a loving, nurturing environment. We suggest reading her story in its entirety; however, if you wish to view certain updates, click on one of the following dates:

February 18, 2000
March 15, 2000
March 30, 2000
May 5, 2000
June 9, 2000
August 11, 2000
February, 2001
October, 2001
December, 2002
December, 2003
The Final Chapter

February 18, 2000

Fever Fever

On February 18, 2000, "Fever" was surrendered to Greyhound Companions of New Mexico by her previous adopter. Nothing in the eight years I have been doing greyhound rescue could have prepared me for what I saw when Fever was pulled from the back seat of her adopter's car. Weighing only 28 pounds and resembling a corpse; words nor photos can depict the grave condition of this pitiful greyhound. Trembling from weakness and the below-freezing temperature (her adopter had never provided her with a coat or sweater), Fever struggled to stay standing while her adopter casually recounted the story of how and when she obtained this 6-1/2-year-old greyhound and why she was surrendering her to me.

She had adopted Fever from a Texas greyhound adoption group in August, 1998. Preparing to move to New Mexico, she gathered all her belongings, her three cats, golden retriever and newly adopted greyhound, Fever. What went wrong after that, we will probably never know, but 1-1/2 years later, this once lively retired racer was succumbing to what appeared to be the final stages of starvation and prolonged confinement in a crate.

Fever was being crated 10 hours a day because she had begun soiling the carpet. Not having a fenced yard for her dogs, the adopter would walk them on lead in the frigid, early-morning hours. Fever, no doubt found it difficult to relieve herself while shivering violently from the wintry air. Frustrated, the adopter returned to the apartment in spite of her futile attempts to get Fever to cooperate. After being returned to the warmth of the apartment, Fever would be left to suffer or eliminate indoors after the adopter left to go to work. This woman admitted it was easier to clean a soiled crate than to shampoo her carpets upon returning from work each day. Fever's putrid odor was affirmation of the fact that she was being confined to lie in her own waste for long periods.

She had developed ulcerations on her protruding spine, between her toes and along the barren vertebrae of her tail. One ear was split and bleeding, with remnants of old, dried blood caking her head and neck. All the above, along with the dull, sparse coat and scaly skin were evidence of a most heinous crime: animal abuse/neglect. The adopter would only recognize the inhumane practice of long-term crating, but not the fact that she failed to seek professional care for a dog in the advanced stages of starvation.

After overcoming the initial shock of seeing an animal so close to death from starvation, I rushed her home to shampoo her and replace the collar that harbored the same stench as she, likely from dried fecal matter and/or vomit. Veterinary care was essential and at once I made arrangements to have her seen immediately by Dr. Ray Bouloy of Manzano Animal Clinic. Expressions of shock overcame the faces of everyone that saw Fever – tears of grief and revulsion at the sight of her became commonplace over the next several days.

Blood tests revealed nothing more than elevated liver enzymes (not uncommon in starvation). No insidious disease, no explanation for her state of health other than the most obvious: starvation. After being on IVs for a few days and finally able to keep food in her stomach, Fever began the long, tedious road to recovery. Frequent, small feedings of a high-calorie, high-protein, canned dog food had very positive effects on Fever's appearance and attitude. Her condition was tenuous, to say the least, but encouraging sights were observed almost daily as she showed signs of regaining strength. Initially, she would topple over easily and her fragile limbs would wobble after periods of standing in an attempt to be near any sign of affection (a free hand or dangling foot).

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Update on Fever - March 15, 2000

Fever Fever

Fever is gaining strength and weight as of this writing. She is on a prescription, high-fat, canned dog food which provides the calories and protein she desperately needs; however, her sensitive digestive system continues to react with intestinal upset. Her liver enzymes have returned to normal and the rest of her blood-work is all within normal limits.

The tail that was initially tucked up to her tummy now wags in anticipation of each meal. She is now capable of doing her fore and aft stretches (that typical greyhound trait!) without toppling over or collapsing in the rear. Her eyes are brighter and trusting, and she loves to go for rides as she can now propel herself into the van without assistance. The ulcerations on her back, tail, feet and legs have healed, and the ear that was lacerated is slowly healing, too.

She sends her love to each and every one of you who have so kindly donated funds for her veterinary bills, and she is grateful for all the cards, thoughts and prayers. And now I must stop typing as Fever is continually nudging my hands away from the keyboard in a gentle plea to go for a walk and test her newfound strength!

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Update on Fever - March 30, 2000

Fever Fever

As of March 30th, Fever weighs 40 pounds. All her bloodwork is now normal. She is retaining all the food she eats and is digesting it well with no intestinal upset. Her coat is growing thicker and is shiny and smooth. The ulcerations have healed and she launches herself into the air (all four feet off the ground) in anticipation of her feedings and upon awakening in the mornings. She gleefully demonstrates her euphoria with this new lease on life.

The state of New Mexico recently implemented a new law, making animal abuse a felony rather than a petty misdemeanor. Withholding veterinary care is a form of abuse and is punishable under the new felony law. Make no mistake, public opinion is rapidly confirming an intolerance of animal abuse in any form and we intend to put this new law to the test with this case.

Fever's story should serve as a reminder that adoption is not always a happy ending for retired racing greyhounds. Hopefully, this will stir the conscience of all who think adoption is the answer to problems inherent within the dog racing industry. The termination of breeding greyhounds for the purpose of pari-mutuel racing is the ultimate protection for these dogs. Adoption is not the solution; abolishing racing is.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude for all donations, cards, gifts, thoughts and prayers on Fever's behalf.

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Update on Fever - May 5, 2000

Fever Fever Fever
Fever has a new lease on life!
Fever's condition
on 2/18/00
Fever's condition
on 5/5/00

Fever now weighs 51 pounds wow, what an improvement over the 28 pounds she weighed on February 18th! Her energy level resembles that of a normal greyhound, although she is still somewhat insecure and requires more attention than her housemates.

Eating four cans a day of Pedigree Chicken and Rice Dinner, she is thriving. Her coat is thick and shiny, and her tail is up and wagging a good deal of the time! The last open sore to heal has finally done so; the split ear continued to break open and bleed each time she shook her head but is now only a scarred "V" at the tip of one ear. Her body is mending itself now that she has been eating steadily and absorbing all the nutrients.

She did develop a taste for leather shoes during her recovery, so the closet doors must remain closed at all times!! Occasionally, she pounces on a stuffed animal but unfortunately she must perceive them as carrion and will begin to devour their limbs if she is not quickly told, "Donít Eat!!" She loves to take brief dashes out the doggie door into the yard with her three greyhound buddies, but never spends much time away from my side, for fear she may miss a meal! Always vigilant for the stray crumb, she has eaten more than a few unwary insects, mistaking them for morsels of food!

She loves going "Bye, bye" in the van and is first to secure the "shotgun" position, standing next to my seat as I drive. Most of our trips are just down the street to the post office or the bank, where all four greyhound faces peer out the window, anticipating their treats from the teller at the drive-up window!

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Update on Fever - June 9, 2000

Today, Fever went to the veterinarian to have her teeth cleaned. She is finally strong enough to tolerate anesthesia. In preparation for this, I had to withhold food and water from her starting the night before, a very difficult task considering her background of starvation. You know the old saying "This will hurt me more than it will you!"; well, I don't think it has anything to do with spankings. I think the first person to say that was grimacing as they reluctantly left their pet at the vet's office for the day (or worse yet, overnight) for an elective procedure. But, I had procrastinated long enough and she was clearly in good health, so I tried to avoid her gaze as she pitifully hung her head and proceeded with the vet tech, away from me.

The great news is that she did fine and recovered without difficulty. One very loose tooth was removed and her incredibly long toenails were clipped while she was snoozing under anesthesia. Fever rejects the idea of a routine pedicure and rather than growling or snapping to resist, she steals the clippers and attempts to hide them! She playfully pulls the clippers from my hand and walks away, hoping I will make no effort to locate them for another session.

The best news of all is that she now weighs 58 pounds; 30 pounds more than three-and-a-half months ago! She now eats dried dog food mixed with canned and has developed a very athletic, muscular build. She loves going "bye-bye" and particularly enjoys trips to the drive-up banking window where she eagerly awaits a doggie treat from the friendly tellers. She loves to race the other greyhounds out to the yard for a quick "spin" around the fence line. Never one to tarry, she will return through the dog door before the others. She loves the warmth of the sunshine on her shiney black coat, but prefers the comfort of a lush, round dog bed inside the house. Memories of cold and hunger must still haunt her in the early morning hours, as she quickly abandons her dog "nest" for a cuddle beside me in my bed. She waits for me to stir, then gleefully pounces on me, signaling it's time for her much anticipated morning meal.

Fever's story has captured the hearts of many and she enjoys our trips to talk to groups of children about the inherent cruelty of dog racing. This has been a happy ending for Fever, but for too many greyhounds the conclusion is a grim one. For the sake of all greyhounds, please spread the word: Greyhound racing should be banned.

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Update on Fever – August 11, 2000


It's been six months since Fever was surrendered to GCNM in the advanced stages of starvation. She weighed only 28 pounds at the time. Fever now weighs in at 62 pounds and is the picture of health. She loves to meander through the trees in her fenced, five-acre parcel of land in the mountains outside Albuquerque, NM, where she lives. She spends most of her days lounging on various fluffy beds scattered throughout the house and she particularly looks forward to treats and her two meals a day.

Fever gets along well with the other three greyhounds of the household and happily greets the numerous foster dogs that come into her home. She carries her stuffed animals from room to room and watches out the front window for bunnies that graze in the front yard. She seems blissfully unaware of her haunting past spent confined in a crate for 10 hours at a time, slowly starving. In spite of her history of abuse and neglect, she remains a trusting and loving companion, testament to the forgiving greyhound temperament.

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Update on Fever – February, 2001


One year ago, Fever was surrendered to GCNM in the final stages of starvation. To see the pictures of her on that date and to see her now is a vision of a miraculous recovery. We still hear from many folks who sent donations on her behalf and everyone wants to know how she is doing. Well, in one word: marvelously!

Fever's most recent personality trait is that of a meticulous housekeeper! She has developed the habit of tidying up after the other greyhounds. No, she won't go out into the yard and clean up the messes, but she delights in returning every stuffed animal to the room from which they came. The other dogs take toys into the living room, leaving a trail of bunnies, teddies and dolls from the toybox in the bedroom. Then, along comes Fever, who hurriedly snatches them from their various locations and she scurries back to the bedroom with them! She hasn't quite mastered getting them back in the toybox, but she gets them close!

When Fever was first taken in by our program last year, her physical condition required constant monitoring and she was kept in polar fleece 24 hours a day due to her extreme sensitivity to the cold. Now, she dashes out to romp in the snow and never pauses for her coat. One of her favorite activities is to scamper around in ever tightening circles until she is standing still at my feet, teasing me to start a game of chase, then she runs through the doggie door into the house. She is very disappointed if I do not follow her immediately, and soon she's back outside running in circles. When I follow her into the house, she quickly dashes back outside hoping I'll pursue her. She is a little ray of sunshine and has transformed from a shivering, frightened skeleton into a confident, healthy, happy greyhound.

Her favorite place to sleep is on my bed, next to me and she doesn't mind sharing her side with one or two other greyhounds! Her favorite treats are the barbecue flavored ones from Three Dog Bakery and she also loves their doggie ice cream in a cone. Her favorite outing is to the bank, as she gets goodies from the teller at the drive up window. She and the other greyhounds poke their heads out the window to be sure the teller gets an accurate head count and delivers the right number of treats back through the money tube!

As you can tell, Fever is now living the life she struggled so valiantly to obtain. Her will to live and the tremendous outpouring of support from all her fans have produced an exceptional example of one of the lucky greyhounds. How unfortunate that there are and will be so many others who'll perish due to the greed and exploitation of the greyhound racing industry.

For more information about the plight of racing greyhounds, see Public Awareness. If you are considering a greyhound adoption, please read about Greyhound Behavior & Health; the articles contain valuable information for anyone wishing to understand and care for these special dogs.

We'll keep you informed of Fever's continued progress in her new life. To read past updates on Fever, click on one of the links at the top of the page.

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Update on Fever – October, 2001


GCNM sent a letter to District Attorney, Kari Brandenburg, asking if her office would be able to help us seek prosecution of the adopter who tortured Fever. The prompt response we received from the D.A.’s office is evidence of how seriously New Mexico is now taking the issue of animal abuse. The Chief Deputy District Attorney soon contacted us to say that an investigator had been assigned to accumulate information on the case. Within days, the investigator had called to schedule an interview and he then began the arduous task of locating and interviewing anyone with pertinent information regarding Fever’s past. His investigation revealed substantial evidence indicating that “extreme animal abuse” had been perpetrated against this greyhound and a date with the Grand Jury was appointed.

On September 7th, 2001, after hearing testimony regarding Fever’s case, the Grand Jury handed down an indictment of fourth degree animal cruelty. A bench warrant was issued for the arrest of the woman responsible for abusing this valiant little greyhound.

The message here is that abuse takes many forms and will not be tolerated by society. Withholding veterinary care is a form of abuse and in Fever’s case, this was critical as she would not likely have survived much longer without intervention. Beating, burning, cutting, stabbing and other forms of torture have long been held as the definition of abusive treatment, however, protracted torture as in the case of starvation and neglect is just as heinous a crime.

Thankfully, our state and many others are recognizing not only the connection between animal and human abuse, but also that animals have rights, too. Animals are not objects of our possession but instead, they are members of our society that contribute to our enjoyment of life with their unconditional love and sustained support for their human companions. One of the most comforting elements in life can be a wagging tail and a head nuzzling us for some small token of appreciation. Appreciation for their affection, loyalty and non-judgmental approach to life - something we should all aspire to emulate.

Protect your animals and the lives of other animals who have the misfortune of being in harms way. Report animal abuse.

Silence in the face of injustice becomes an instrument of evil...(anonymous)

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Update on Fever – December, 2002


For those familiar with the story of "Fever," the image of her in a shockingly emaciated state in her first photos (click here to see the first photos) will exist forever in the mind. We continue to get inquiries from animal lovers across the country who so faithfully followed her progress on our website. Her journey from death's doorstep to the picture of health was a long and arduous one.

The woman who did this to Fever was indicted for extreme animal abuse by a Grand Jury in Albuquerque, New Mexico in July, 2001. With the expertise and compassion of Chief Deputy District Attorney, Kathleen Wright, this case was presented to a judge in a plea hearing on March 15, 2002. At this hearing the defendant plead no contest to "extreme cruelty to animals". This plea essentially means she admits that a jury would probably find her guilty, based on all the evidence, so she chose not to go before a jury to attempt to defend herself. If she had gone before a jury and been found guilty, the punishment in the state of New Mexico could have been 18 months in prison, a $5,000.00 fine and one year probation.

Because this was a first offense for the defendant, an agreement between her attorney and Deputy District Attorney Wright set forth the following provisions: The defendant will enroll in an "Anicare" program in the state where she now resides. This program teaches humane animal treatment and various other animal related subjects. The defendant has to serve 100 hours community service in an animal associated field. She must have her current pets evaluated by a veterinarian to determine their health and well-being and certified statements of these exams must be sent to the judge. This is to be done every 3 months for an 18 month period - at her expense. The defendant is on unsupervised probation during the next 18 months, but will be monitored by a probation officer. The next hearing date is scheduled for September 15, 2003, to determine if all provisions set forth have been complied with.

Greyhound Companions of New Mexico pursued this case tenaciously, not only for the sake of Fever, but for animals everywhere who may be victims of abuse/neglect. To bring such cases to light is to send the message that animal abuse will not be tolerated and it is a crime that will be punished. As frustrating as it was initially when trying to get co-operation from various entities who are supposed to investigate reports of animal abuse, persistence paid off in this case.

It should be noted that in Fever's case, the adopter voluntarily surrendered her to GCNM. This fact could have swayed the Grand Jury in favor of the defendant, however the critical state of Fever at the time she was surrendered was a key in making the determination that cruelty was indeed a factor in the delay to seek help. Withholding veterinary care for an animal in such a critical stage of illness is considered abuse.

Fever is now living in a state of bliss - her only concerns being which bed to lie on or which toy to gleefully hide from the other dogs. Living in my home in the mountains outside of Albuquerque, she delights in her excursions out the dog door to investigate her property with the other greyhounds. She is in excellent health, despite how close she came to perishing from starvation. At nine years old, she's a bit soft in the middle and much grayer in the face, but still bounds energetically up and down the stairs; in my mind, she's celebrating each day of her new life. I would like to take this opportunity to again thank everyone who supported Fever's cause with donations and loving cards and letters inquiring about her and wishing her well.

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Update on Fever - December, 2003

Because the defendant did not adhere to the terms originally set forth by the judge on March 15, 2002, she was sentenced on October 9, 2003, to supervised probation rather than unsupervised probation. She was ordered to comply with all previously defined terms of her sentence within 30 days from 10-9-03 or be faced with an 18 month prison sentence. She has now met the conditions of her sentencing, but will continue to be on supervised probation until October, 2004.

Fever continues to thrive in her current home and will be 11 years old in July, 2004.

The Final Chapter

On October 20, 2004, Fever lost her battle with escalating health problems. She began limping on and then dragging her left front leg and suddenly developed intense pain, causing her to writhe and wail - completely out of character for the normally stoic Fever. The pain did not abate with injections and we could not find a comfortable position for her. Having witnessed Fever’s steady decline in health in recent weeks, I elected to have her euthanized to end her suffering.

She had been on numerous medications to control ailments she had developed in the past year and she had begun to lose her appetite, which is never a good sign. Necropsy revealed a large blood clot lodged in the brachial artery at the left shoulder, which explains the intense pain and sudden inability to use the limb. It was also discovered that she had kidney disease and tumors in her adrenal glands, as well.

Fever had four years and eight months in her second home to live free of the neglect and abuse she suffered at the hands of her first adopter. It was a miracle that she lived so long considering her history of near-starvation almost 5 years ago. A nationwide network of well-wishers developed during the period Fever was struggling to survive and to those people I want to extend my heartfelt thanks for your continued inquiries into her health. She paid her dues while one this earth - once to the racing industry she could not satisfy with her slow times and again to a woman who almost starved her to death. In spite of the injustices she endured, she remained gentle, affectionate and kind to all people and all animals she encountered. We could all learn a lesson or two from her.

Goodbye, Fever...

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