The caller to the Seattle Animal Shelter reported a stray dog living in a West Seattle alley. SAS Humane Law Enforcement officers were dispatched to locate the dog. In their second attempt, they spotted her.

She was a nine-year-old Chow Chow laying in filth amidst garbage and other debris. Her fur was so matted that it impeded her movement, and she was emaciated. Her collar had become embedded into her fur. The officers took her immediately to a vet, where further examination revealed skin and urinary tract infections.

By this time, SAS had made contact with her owner, who agreed to surrender the dog, named Jazzy. What happened next marked another milestone in the Shelter’s anti-cruelty efforts.

SAS: ensuring animal welfare

While the best-known part of Seattle Animal Shelter operations may be the physical shelter itself, the shelter and its staff are also responsible for enforcing animal welfare laws within Seattle. Twelve Humane Law Enforcement Officers, including those who found Jazzy, are tasked with responding to calls about suspected cases of cruelty and neglect and animals in distress. In 2011, they investigated 785 such complaints.

If the Humane Law Enforcement officers believe an animal is in immediate danger, the animal can be seized and the pet’s owner may be cited or face criminal charges. Just as important, if a dog or cat is removed from a neglectful or abusive situation, SAS staff and volunteers put every effort into transforming that animal into an adoptable pet.

A second chance

After a recovery period at the vet, SAS staff brought Jazzy to the shelter, where she was placed for adoption. Jazzy needed special care as she continued to heal and gain weight, so SAS foster parent volunteers Rob and Christy brought Jazzy into their home.

Despite her rough life, Jazzy remained friendly toward people, though a bit reserved. She bonded quickly with Christy, never letting her out of her sight. Jazzy relished the attention she would get when wearing her “Adopt Me!” vest to the Ballard Farmer’s Market or other events, and her teddy bear looks and purple tongued-smile turned heads wherever she went.

A couple named Steve and Nancy had been perusing the Seattle Animal Shelter’s website for adoptable dogs when Jazzy caught Nancy’s eye. The couple arranged to meet her, and it was clear that it was a great match. Steve and Nancy had previously adopted an older dog from SAS, but he was diagnosed with cancer shortly after adoption and lived only another 10 months. Despite this experience, they were willing to take on another older dog with potential health issues. After about a month, Jazzy’s personality began to emerge. She has now bonded strongly with her owners, who describe her as “a doll.”

That Jazzy’s story has a happy ending is due to the efforts of many people—the caller who first reported Jazzy, the staff at Carkeek Park Veterinary Hospital, her foster parents, and her adoptive family—but particular credit goes to the Seattle Animal Shelter’s Humane Law Enforcement officers.

Just five months after these officers rescued Jazzy, she sports a thick, lush coat and enjoys human companions who have given her a chance for a happy life. Her sweet demeanor and beautiful looks continue to attract smiles and attention wherever she goes.