WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 12, 2014, 08:10 AM

Dog found with legs tied in Duluth yard returns home

Molly the dog is home.

By: Mike Creger, Duluth News Tribune, WDAY

Molly the dog is home.

The dog found in a yard earlier this week with her front legs tied together has been released from a city animal shelter, according to owner Candace Mead. She posted a photo of the dog Thursday night on her Facebook page — called Help Molly Get Home.

With the help of donors, Mead made the required arrangements to get Molly out of the city shelter, where the dog had been staying since being found Monday morning.

Mead reported through a Facebook post Thursday morning that she received donations that would pay for the medical expenses incurred at the city animal shelter.

Duluth Police Department spokesman Jim Hansen confirmed that the $120 veterinarian bill and $10 license fee was paid. The dog needed only to be medically cleared before it would be released, he said.

Mead created some confusion Wednesday when she stated that the city was imposing a $350 penalty because the dog was not spayed. She said she wouldn’t be able to afford to pay the fine until the end of the month.

Hansen said Mead was told before she made her statement that the penalty would not be applied because of the circumstances.

Mead’s story created a swell of Facebook feedback and she started the separate page asking for donations to get Molly out of the shelter.

Mead said she had been looking for Molly for three days before the animal was found Monday morning in western Duluth. Her front legs were zip-tied together. Mead stated Tuesday on Facebook that she was the owner of the dog and knew who had tied its legs together.

Police at the time said the dog would remain at the city shelter until an investigation was complete.

Mead has said the story behind the incident is complicated and she wouldn’t discuss details until police finished the case.

The potential costs facing Mead were part of a recalculated fee schedule for pet owners passed by the Duluth City Council last year.

Pet owners must pay $10 per year to license animals that are sterilized and vaccinated against rabies. Lifetime licenses cost $60.

For people who don’t have their pets spayed or neutered, the annual and lifetime licensing fees are $25 and $75. Those pets are considered noncompliant, like Molly, and a $350 penalty is charged to reclaim the animal from the shelter. But that fee can be waived if the owner agrees to bring the animal into compliance.

Boarding fees also must be paid.

The city estimates that only 5 percent of all pets in city limits are properly licensed.

The investigation into Molly’s case continues, Hansen said. He said there was no intention of holding the dog in place of the fees.

“The objective is to make sure the animal receives proper care,” he said.

“Molly is back,” Mead wrote online. “Thank you everyone. We all did this for her together. She’s as happy as can be.”