There’s no place like home

April 29, 2014
Erin Fisher of New Era holds Foxy, a Chihuahua mix puppy who lost an eye due to neglect by a previous owner, while her 2-year-old dog, Mort, snuggles with his owner and new pal.

Erin Fisher of New Era holds Foxy, a Chihuahua mix puppy who lost an eye due to neglect by a previous owner, while her 2-year-old dog, Mort, snuggles with his owner and new pal.

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

NEW ERA – Who would ever think that such a tiny dog would have such an enormous impact on so many lives?
Foxy, a 9-week-old Chihuahua mix puppy, became a local celebrity last winter when she was featured on local media outlets after supposedly being found in a trash bin outside a woman’s home in -14 degree weather. The neglected dog had extensive damage to her left eye, which eventually had to be removed.

Foxy3Erin Fisher, who recently moved to New Era when she took on the job of Oceana County’s chief assistant prosecutor, was captivated by Foxy’s story – as were many others.

“She was turned over to the Kent County Animal Shelter and received life-saving treatment and eye surgery to remove the injured and infected eye,” Fisher recalled. “She now is permanently winking at you.”

Once Foxy recovered, adoption proceedings began. Erin applied for adoption – as did 50 other interested applicants. Fisher was one of 10 potential owners interviewed and ultimately chosen as Foxy’s new mom.

It came to light during the animal neglect investigation, however, that the woman who said she “found” Foxy in the trash bin was actually her owner, and the eye injury occurred at her home. “She made up the story about finding her in the trash,” Fisher said. McKenzie Coleman, 18, of Grand Rapids was never criminally charged with animal neglect.

“It did not amount to animal abuse that could be proven,” Fisher said. “It could have been a very poorly-handled accident or it may have been actual, intentional abuse caused by Foxy’s previous owners – no one knows for sure or ever will. It is just too bad that they waited after her eye was injured to seek help.”

That news made Fisher even more determined to fight for Foxy. “I was contacted by Dr. (Laurie) Wright from the Kent County Animal Shelter to set up a meeting with Foxy, but that meeting was delayed, because on the first visit Foxy had with a prospective adoptive family, she bit them,” Fisher recalled. “She is a feisty, sassy little thing. I was sad to hear that Foxy had to be quarantined, by law, for 10 more days before I could visit with her but was willing to wait.”

Foxy2In the meantime, the potential new mom bought Foxy a leash, collar, bed, car seat and bones to bring to the meeting. “I also contacted the Hart Animal Clinic to inform them that I may be bringing them a new addition,” she said.

“Finally, I was able to meet her and was told by Dr. Wright that I would be notified later that day if I would be adopting her. I was so excited when I got that phone call saying I was going to be Foxy’s new mom,” Fisher beamed. “Dr. Wright warned me that there was a huge press following Foxy’s story and that I would have to be willing to be interviewed at a press conference to adopt her. I was picked because I followed up with her; asked questions about caring for her with her special condition; and bought equipment to make the transfer home as seamless as possible.”

As a criminal prosecutor, Fisher is knows the complexities of animal abuse and neglect cases. “We have great animal control officers here in Oceana County, and with the cooperation between our office, law enforcement and animal control, we make a pretty good team in making sure crimes or neglect involving animals are thoroughly investigated and that we reach the right decision for each case within the law,” she said.

“Foxy really is an amazing little puppy and loves her new home and her new brother, a Chihuahua mix named Mort who is my 2-year-old first dog. They adore each other and spend the days playing. Mort has been an amazing influence on her recovery. She used to have trouble with balance and depth perception and through interaction with Mort, she has gotten a better handle on navigating the world with one eye.”

Foxy continues to thrive under her new owner’s care and is up to 7 pounds now. “She is a wonderful little dog with an amazing spirit and attitude,” said the proud new mom.