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      Horrific abuse case puts more strain on Humane Society of Sandusky Co.

      Rocky's collar had embedded into his neck.

      Like many non-profits in Northwest Ohio the Humane Society of Sandusky County is having a hard time making ends meet.

      Donations are down and the number of unwanted pets are up. But it was the story of one particular animal that really drew NBC24's attention.

      There are nearly 100 cats at the modest shelter in Fremont and more than 30 dogs. To take of them all requires a lot of food and help and, unfortunately, the money just is not there.

      "Fundraising is almost continuous--when you figure it costs $10,000 a month to keep your doors open, you can't fundraise that kind of money," said Humane Society of Sandusky County Board President Joanne McDowell.

      The shelter will be closed on Wednesdays to save funds and is not currently taking anymore cats or kittens. McDowell says the connection to the downturn in the economy is obvious.

      "We've had way more numbers because people have lost homes and we've taken a lot of those animals. We've had more abuse and neglect because of the economy," said McDowell.

      That last point brings us to the real point of our story: Rocky the dog.

      Rocky looks ok now but when he first came to the Humane Society about two months ago he was so badly neglected his ribs were showing and his collar had cut away at his neck.

      "His neck was raw meat--you couldn't even put a leash on the poor dog," said McDowell.

      Rocky had to spend a month in veterinary care--racking up quite a bill--and he did not come to the shelter alone. Ebony the puppy also demands space and attention; her brother is in a Humane Society foster care home. Their future in limbo as their owner faces court charges.

      "But meantime, court has been backed up again because he's gotten an attorney--so now we're into the end of February," said McDowell. "I don't know how long we're going to have these dogs and basically we can't adopt them out so they're taking up space which means we can't take maybe a needy dog in in that place."

      The Humane Society of Sandusky County says if you would like to help--they really just need monetary donations.

      And, of course, you can always make one pet's life brighter by providing them a home.

      The Humane Society of Sandusky County is located at 2520 Port Clinton Road in Fremont.

      Hours are weekdays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Sunday and holidays.

      Call (419) 334-4517 for more information on how to donate.