By Samantha Swindler / Managing Editor

A Great Dane that weighed only half its recommended weight was taken in by the employees of the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter Tuesday.

When shelter employees found it, the dog could barely stand, it had sores on its hindquarters where it hadn’t moved, and they could count every notch on its spine from the base of its neck to the tip of its tail.

“This is like a dead dog walking,” said shelter employee Rosemary Blankenship.

The dog was seized by Knox County Animal Control Officer Carl Bolton Tuesday, who was called out after a neighbor working on his roof spotted the female dog inside a kennel.

According to Shelter Manager Amy Young, the dog’s owner was staying in a rehabilitation center, and the owner’s aunt was supposed to be feeding it. Young, who was called out to euthanize the dog by Bolton, said the dog’s condition showed it had likely been starved for months.

“When they got her out of the dog house, she couldn’t stand up,” Young said.

Next to the kennel, in a covered trash can, shelter employees found bags of the dog’s food.

“We took the euthanasia solution with us, and just couldn’t do it,” Young said. When Young and Blankenship arrived, the dog was so sweet natured and loving, “It was all she could do to wag her tail.”

Young said the dog weighed 75 pounds, but a Great Dane should weigh closer to 150.

The dog — which neighbors said was named “Princess” — was taken to a veterinarian Tuesday. The vet said the dog’s willingness to eat was a good sign of its chances of recovery, and it should be fed a hardy meal of chicken, white rice or small canned potatoes every hour. Young is taking the dog home to care for it, and a full recovery could take up to six months, she said.

The dog also has a large swelling around its left forearm, but doctors weren’t sure of the cause. Young said it could be a break that didn’t heal, or it could be bone cancer, and Princess may need an amputation. An X-ray on the swelling could be done after the dog gains weight, Young said.

The Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter is seeking donations of food — white minute rice and chicken broth — and blankets, since Princess’ wound will require changing of sheets. To help, contact the shelter at 526-6925 or visit

As for the people who failed to care for the dog, Young said she hoped they would be prosecuted. Bolton, who originally found the dog, could not be reached for comment. The names of the caregivers were not immediately available.

Even if the caregivers were cited for cruelty or neglect, current Kentucky laws would make it only a misdemeanor. A proposed bill known as “Romeo’s Law,” named after a beaten Pulaski County dog, would make dog or cat torture a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years in prison. It has passed the Senate and House Judiciary Committee and is waiting to be voted on by the full House.

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