By Bobbie Poynter / Community Editor
Animals can’t speak English. If they could, what horrendous stories abused pets could tell about their former owners and the starvation and cruelty to which they were subjected and forced to endure.
That's why the newest animal rights activist group, “Justice for Abused Animals,” came to light.
“These babies need someone to speak for them,” said the organization’s founder, Jamie Medlin. “We want to see these people prosecuted, and we’re willing to go to court and support the animal.”
In early August 2012, a woman took a picture of what she believed to be an abused animal and posted it on Facebook, asking for help. After speaking with the lady, Medlin called the Laurel County Sheriff.
Three dogs were removed from the house that same day. One was tied to the carport, one was tied to the back porch and another was in a cage on the back porch. Since the owner surrendered two of the three dogs to the Laurel County Animal Shelter, Medlin’s family agreed to take the two dogs home and get them immediate medical treatment.
The dogs, a coon bird dog mix who would soon be deemed Freedom, and a lemon Beagle mix, a.k.a. Hope, were diagnosed by the vet as being extremely malnourished, anemic, filthy and badly infested with worms.
Medlin has been raised around animals all her life and was simply unable to stand idly by while the poor dogs were forced to suffer in silence.
“When I saw what was happening to Freedom and the others, I just had to step in,” she said. “This can’t keep on happening.”
And that was just the beginning of a crusade Medlin, her family and a host of friends would take on. “Justice for Abused Animals” became the culmination of efforts by a small group of people who took it upon themselves to speak for animals who have been victimized by cruel, uncaring or negligent owners.
Justice, a brown and white mix, was found outside a house in North Corbin tied to a trampoline, her left rear leg partially hanging on with cartilage and tendons dangling. The dog was taken to the London Vet Clinic where Dr. Boland had no choice but to amputate the dog’s leg.
Justice’s injuries have since healed, and she has been adopted by the Storms family. According to Nancy Storms, Justice is not the one who’s getting the most out of the adoption.
“I feel like I’m the one that’s blessed to have her,” said Storms of her new three-legged charge. “She gives unconditional love, and she has the best personality of any dog I’ve ever been around.”
Nevertheless, remnants of the cruelty previously shown to the dog still remain.
“She has separation anxiety,” Storms explained. “She wants to keep her nose on me all the time, even in the car when we’re in separate seats. And she still shakes uncontrollably at loud noises.”
Storms and her family are patient with their newest family pet and help her work through her insecurities.
“I pick her up until she stops shaking,” said Storms. “When she first came, she would not play; she didn’t even know how to play with a dog toy. Now she sleeps in her own bed and plays with our other dog. They’re like true sisters.
“She’s done a ‘360,’ other than with loud noises. She’s acting like a puppy. I don’t think she ever got to be a puppy.”
Rory, a full-grown brown pit bull, was rescued by the organization from a home in Keavy where he and several other dogs were found chained up and starving. Sadly, the Laurel County Animal Shelter had to put three of the animals down.
Rory’s animal cruelty case was first taken to court in November 2012, and another hearing is scheduled in February.
Heedless of the upcoming court date, Rory and his new family have taken right up with each other.
“He’s adapting, really,” said Brandi White, Rory’s new owner. “He took right up with everybody and everything, and after a couple of days, it was like he has always been here.
However, like Justice, Rory still has a few problems.
“His only real issue is separation anxiety,” White explained. “He can’t stand to be left by himself. He has to be right where I’m at or he starts panicking.
“I just try to keep him with me all the time so he doesn’t get too excited. Beside that, he’s being a simple dog. He gets along well with our three other dogs. They’re little Chihuahuas, but Rory knows that they’re the bosses.”
The Chihuahuas, dubbed Hope and Faith, were rescued from a puppy mill, and the two had been kept in a cage together.
“They’ve become Daddy’s puppies,” White said. “They’re inseparable, and you can’t have one without the other.”
Jamie Medlin is currently in the process of filing the paperwork to request Justice for Abused Animals become a legitimate non-profit organization and expects to hear something within 90 days. In the meantime, she and her friends plan to continue their crusade and raise money the old fashioned way through community support and fundraising events. Medlin has also been contacted by Shamrock, a no-kill shelter in Louisville, and the US Humane Society, offering their support.
“We’ve already spent more than $2,000 since August on medical expenses for 15-20 dogs,” she said. “Currently, we have four cases pending in court representing nine animals, and another one is currently being investigated.”
As the organization’s title implies, Medlin is hoping for justice through the court system.
“I’m hoping that these people’s animal rights are removed,” she said, “and that they don’t get the animal back that we fight for. I’d love to see jail time and restitution paid back to JFAA.”
But, all that is contingent on the court’s findings, and Justice for Abused Animals plans to be there every time to make sure someone speaks for the animals.
For more information on Justice for Abused Animals, check out their Facebook page. You can also reach them by calling (606) 523-0053. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 898, Corbin, KY 40702 or sent through PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.