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She’ll be an Illinois dog now

The 1-year-old female golden retriever met her new companions Saturday afternoon at the Lawrence County Humane Society Animal Rescue and Abuse Center amidst tears of joy for her good fortune mixed with sadness at her departure.

Saturday, November 06, 1999

The 1-year-old female golden retriever met her new companions Saturday afternoon at the Lawrence County Humane Society Animal Rescue and Abuse Center amidst tears of joy for her good fortune mixed with sadness at her departure.

"I saw her story at the Golden Retrievers of Cyberspace site on the Internet and she just broke my heart," said Jennifer, Sunshine’s new adoptive "parent." Jennifer, who said she wanted to remain mostly anonymous for Sunshine’s protection, arrived at the shelter Saturday from Illinois.

"It was strange that I went onto that (Web) site – it wasn’t like I was looking for another dog or anything," Jennifer said. "But when I saw her, I just knew I had to give her a home."

What greeted Jennifer on the Internet was a tale of horrific abuse. Sunshine was taken into custody by Lawrence County humane agent Carla Beasely after reports of a dog with a chain cutting into her neck were received.

Sunshine’s neck was not only cut, but the chain was partially embedded into the dog’s skin. It took emergency surgery by a local veterinarian to remove the chain, which could have proved fatal to the animal if left untreated.

"When she first came to the shelter, she didn’t want to be around other dogs," humane society volunteer Debby Scarlotti said. "But her tail was always wagging. She was always a very friendly dog, very happy to have attention and love."

Two months and several telephone calls and emails later, Sunshine is fully recovered from her injuries and ready to take a ride to Illinois. There, she will meet her sister, a golden retriever named, oddly enough, Sunshine.

"We’re going to have to give her another name," Jennifer said of the newest member of her family which includes two dogs, a husband and a son. "I also have a cocker spaniel, and I’m just happy to be able to bring her home. She’s finally going to know what it’s like to be in a home full of love. She’s going to be spoiled rotten."

While Sunshine’s new companions are looking forward to a long life full of fun, chew toys and tail wagging, her former owner, Harold Friend, 36, of Pedro, is forbidden to have pets for at least one year.

Friend pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals in Ironton Municipal Court Oct. 28. Judge Clark Collins sentenced Friend to 90 days in the Lawrence County Jail, the maximum sentence for such an offense.

Friend also was fined and placed on probation for one year, humane society members said, adding that his other animals should be in custody this week.