GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Neighbors and a vet clinic came together over the weekend to lay a dog to rest after he was found dead in a yard.
The dog, now called Benjamin, was cremated Monday morning at BluePearl Emergency Veterinary and Specialty Animal Hospital at no expense. Michele Schaut, the animal rescuer who found him, says she needed more help from the county when she called authorities, but wasn't told where to go other than her vet Sunday afternoon.
"I don't want to say it's a hobby, it's a way of life," said Schaut, Grand Rapids resident and animal rescuer.
Since 1997 Schaut started her dog and cat rescue Michele's Rescue and then founded West Michigan Spay Neuter Clinic in Fruitport. Sunday she left an animal adoption event when she saw a picture circulating Facebook: a skinny blue pit bull about 35 pounds, lying lifeless in a front yard on the 60th block of Benjamin Avenue NE in Grand Rapids.
"His toenails were a little long, you could see that he’d been outside for a while, his pads were really dirty," said Schaut.
Schaut says the dog was found around 7 a.m. Sunday, she arrived around 1 p.m., then placed him in her truck and drove to the Kent County Animal Control in hopes of finding staff there.
"I just know that even having a 16-year-old son if he came out to that, that would be burned into his eyes," she said. "I had no place to put him, where do you go?"
Schaut says she called animal control's emergency number then spoke with Kent County and city authorities who she says gave no answers except to take the dog to her vet. Thankful BluePearl cremated Benjamin, Schaut says there must be a better answer.
"[BluePearl staff] brought out a gurney with wheels, and they had a quilt on there and covered him up," Schaut said in tears. "It was nice, because that was probably the only bed that he had."
Kent County Spokesperson Steve Kelso says depending on where you find a deceased stray animal, call the Kent County Road Commission at 616-242-6900 to pick up the animal.
Otherwise, during weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., you can take the stray animal to Kent County Animal Control and staff will take care of cremation. Then, a bulletin with the animal's description will be posted in their lobby in the case an owner comes to find their animal. Animal control is unable to pick up an animal, Kelso said.
As of Monday evening, no one has claimed Benjamin.