P.E.I. family gives neglected hounds a second chance

A P.E.I. family has spent the last six months nursing their coonhound puppies back to health. They called the P.E.I. Humane Society to report animal neglect after purchasing two pups.

Martell family called P.E.I. Humane Society after purchasing two pups in bad shape

Elizabeth Davis says it will take a lot of time and effort to socialize Clarice. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

A P.E.I. family has spent the last six months nursing their coonhound puppies back to health after calling the P.E.I. Humane Society to report animal neglect.

Elizabeth Davis and her father Mike Martell were looking for a couple of dogs like the beagles the family used to have. Davis saw an ad online for coonhounds and they arranged to buy two of the puppies for $100 each.

Mike and Tami Martell say it was 'the right thing to do' to call the P.E.I. Humane Society to investigate. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

'They were terrified'

Davis says she and her father knew instantly that something was wrong when they went to pick up the dogs. A woman at the house went to get their puppies, which were huddled together in a kennel, she said.

"When she tried to take the coonhounds out, they wouldn't move, they were terrified," Davis said. "A puppy should want to come out and meet you and they wouldn't."

This is Cletus the day that the Martells brought him home. (Submitted by the Martells)

The two asked to see the rest of the puppies in the barn but said that request was turned down.

"When Dad and I left with the dogs, we looked at each other and said, something's not right," Davis said. "They were shaking, they were skinny but we took them anyway."

When they got the puppies home, there were more signs that something was wrong.

"She wouldn't walk on the floor, you couldn't take her outside because she was afraid of the wind, she was afraid of the grass," Davis said of her puppy, named Clarice Georgina. "She was so malnourished, all she did was sleep."

The Martells say Cletus has steadily gained weight and confidence since coming home with them in November. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

It was the same at the home of Mike and Tami Martell with the male puppy named Cletus George.

"He was anemic, starving to death, he was dehydrated and full of parasites to the point that you couldn't pick him up because his poor little belly was so extended and so sore," said Tami.

Davis called her vet to come and see the puppy.

"I knew something was wrong," Davis said. "She came out the next day to meet Clarice and realized she was malnourished, lethargic and that they needed their medicine."

Clarice gets a hug from one of her young owners. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

The families slowly nursed the dogs through those first hours. They also made the decision to call the P.E.I. Humane Society.

"I made the call and they thanked me for it and said that they were going to head up there and check it out and then they seized the dogs," Davis said.

10 dogs seized

RCMP and the Humane Society investigated the property of 66-year-old Kenneth Brian Graham of Darnley, P.E.I., and seized ten dogs in November 2017. The dogs were skittish, underweight and tethered on short chains inside Graham's large barn, according to evidence later presented in court.

The Martell family was kept in the loop as charges were laid against Graham. They also provided photos and other evidence for the court case.

Clarice learns to shake a paw. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

In early May, Graham pleaded guilty to animal neglect involving the 10 dogs that were seized.

"I thought it was fantastic but not enough. I know that they did what they could do but it's not enough," Davis said. 

Elizabeth Davis says Clarice has made incredible progress but will never be 'normal.' (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Her mother agrees.

"I believe he should have gotten some jail time," Tami said. "It would have been a really good opportunity to set a precedent and let people know that we're not going to put up with this."

Still, the Martell family has no regrets on giving their coonhounds, and the ones taken from the barn, a second chance.

Clarice sits in her favourite spot, safely off the floor which still makes her nervous. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

"It was not their fault that they were born where they were born and treated the way they were treated," Tami said. "No animal should be treated so badly."

"It was the right thing to do," Mike said. 

More P.E.I. news