|Death: ||May 20, 2006|
ZEPHYRHILLS - Miracle the puppy almost lived up to her name.
But, in the end, the severe beating and torture the pit bull mix suffered several months ago proved to be too much.
After surviving several surgeries and making a remarkable recovery, the dog died May 20 at her adopted Zephyrhills home.
"It was probably just her time to go," said veterinarian Gail Mendenhall, who oversaw the dog's recovery at Crystal Springs Veterinary Clinic. "She always did better than expected. ... I never thought she'd make it the first 24 hours."
Gary Franckewich, a Zephyrhills carpenter, found the 5-month-old dog, her snout clamped shut with rubber bands, at a job site in Crystal Springs Dec. 5. Maggots had infested the animal's tongue, part of which had to be amputated.
Three of the dog's legs were broken. One hind leg was separated from the hip.
Franckewich, who named the dog "Miracle," visited her daily at the clinic for several months.
"She is fantastic; she went from a tortured dog to as normal as can be for a puppy," he told The Tampa Tribune in February. "She is trusting with people again."
After no one came forth to claim her, Franckewich adopted Miracle, taking her home April 16 — Easter Sunday. He could not be reached Friday. Miracle was gaining weight and seemed to be doing well, said Mendenhall, who saw the dog a few times after she left the clinic.
Two weeks ago, after feeding Miracle, Franckewich ran out to the store. He returned less than two hours later to find her dead, just outside her doggy door, next to a pile of undigested food she had vomited.
A necropsy revealed the animal probably choked to death, Mendenhall said.
"She got loving care; it's just one of those freak things," she said.
Angel Andino, 14, of Crystal Springs, was arrested in February and charged with animal cruelty after four acquaintances stepped forward with information that led to his arrest.
He was sentenced in April to one year in a juvenile detention center, where he will receive psychological counseling.
Miracle received hundreds of letters of support from throughout the world — many including donations to help pay the animal's veterinary bills.
Mendenhall said the clinic would write back everyone who donated money and return a portion of what they gave. Anything left over will be donated to a local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
"We're wanting her to rest in peace," she said. "We're hurting so badly in here. We loved that little dog so much."
UPDATE Angel Luis Andino of Crystal Springs, FL was convicted of the crime of animal abuse in December 2005. He was sentenced to a year in a detention center. He was unrepentant and arrogant after the crime bragging about the deed which led to his arrest.
Created by: J.A. & D.S.
Record added: Jun 03, 2006
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