Severely malnourished dog rescued by Johnson County woman

By: Morgan Lentes Email
By: Morgan Lentes Email

PRESTONSBURG, Ky (WYMT) - A veterinarian said she would not have survived another week living in those conditions.

Luckily, a Johnson County woman took action rescuing a severely malnourished Great Dane.

But thanks to the efforts of Crystal Combs, Duchess is getting a second chance at life.

The average Great Dane weighs well over 100 pounds.

Duchess is only 44.

Combs said she could not believe the shape the dog was in when she came to pick her up.

"Whenever I actually got her in my vehicle, I broke down and cried. I mean I have never in my life seen anything in this shape. I mean you see it on TV. You see it on Facebook," said Combs.

Combs is a dog person.

She saved Duchess as part of Safe Haven for Great Danes, an organization saving dogs from abuse.

"This was ten minutes from my home. I mean reality has sunk in," said Combs.

Now Duchess is starting over, beginning with a bath, thanks to Doggy Styles Dog Grooming in Prestonsburg.

Johna Lawson owns the business and gave Duchess a bath.

"Duchess, you could even feel every single bone in her tail and I was just very careful because it has to hurt," said Lawson.

Combs said what is really impressive about Duchess is that she has maintained a good disposition despite all the abuse she has suffered.

Willidean Burchett works with Combs for Safe Haven for Great Danes.

She said Johnson County needs to get serious about protecting animals.

"They really need an animal shelter and they really need to enforce animal cruelty laws much better in Johnson County. The way it is there are just so many cases that have just come and gone. It is just awful," said Burchett.

Burchett is also a member of the Johnson County Animal Shelter Project, which is working to open a shelter in the county.

Combs said opening a shelter will help prevent situations like this.

"It is not about pointing fingers at anybody saying 'You did this' or 'You did that'. It is all about trying to pull together local organizations and trying to help the animals," said Combs.

The person who owned Duchess also owned another dog named Rugger.

Combs said the owner surrendered both dogs to her.

Duchess and Rugger are now in foster care.

Combs said both dogs are in need of veterinary care and she hopes the public can help cover their expenses.

If you would like to help them or others like them in need, you can find information at the links below.

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