Animal control officer Jodi LeBombard had just stepped into the grisliest investigation of her career — the serial slaying of what would turn out to be 13 Italian greyhounds — when she opened a closet door in the apartment of their suspected killer.
Inside was a white Italian greyhound, bruised and bloodied and weighing about three pounds.
LeBombard, a deputy for Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter, removed the shaking puppy from the home of Michigan State University medical student Andrew David Thompson on June 21, 2011.
“I really didn’t believe that she would (survive), but I had hopes that she would,” LeBombard said. “She was pretty injured.”
The dog known as Chloe No. 2, was taken to Southside Animal Hospital, where veterinarian Joyce Heideman diagnosed internal bleeding and fluid in the dog’s lungs. Heideman also doubted the dog would live.
But, to everyone’s surprise, Chloe No. 2 lived, becoming the lone survivor of the 13 Italian greyhounds that Thompson would, at one point, admit to having killed in fits of rage, mostly by throwing them against the wall or floor, or grabbing them by the neck and beating them.
Sometimes they died instantly, sometimes, like Chloe 2, they lingered for a few days. After one Italian greyhound died, Thompson, 24, would buy another.
The State News in Lansing told the story of the lone survivor last week, including it’s happy ending: Renamed Jezabelle, the dog now lives with Heideman and the veterinarian’s five other dogs.
Heidman said it was three days into the lethargic puppy’s recovery that she saw some hope. When taken out to go to the bathroom, the puppy saw a small leaf land nearby and, with a sudden burst of energy, pounced on it.
“That was the first time I knew she would actually live because she showed there was something in there,” Heideman said.
Six days into her recovery, Heideman adopted the puppy, taking her home to live with her two boxers, two labs and a one-eyed pit bull Heideman rescued after he was abused with a baseball bat.
“I never really thought I would actually adopt her, but I kind of fell in love,” she explained. “She snuggles up next to you, and you just feel like, ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter what happened today, I’m just happy now.’”
Despite her abuse, Jezabelle isn’t skittish or anxious around humans. “She seems to be a very loving and kindhearted dog that wouldn’t hold a grudge against anyone,” Heideman said.
Thompson, who was suspended from medical school after his arrest, faced 13 felony charges of animal killing in Okemos and East Lansing. He ended up pleading guilty to three of the charges and was sentenced in June to five years probation.
Judge Paula Manderfield said she saw little benefit in incarcerating him. She mandated he continue to receive psychiatric treatment, pay more than $5,000 in court fines and restitution, perform 400 hours of community service and work at least 30 hours per week.
Heideman, like many, found that sentence way too light.
“People who write bad checks get more time in jail than somebody who killed (13) dogs,” she said. “There’s something wrong with our legal system.”
More than a year after saving the puppy from a closet, Deputy LeBombard — to whom Thompson initially confessed – still drops by Heideman’s animal hospital to visit the dog.
“I get to go over there and give her hugs,” LeBombard said. “You can’t even hold her she’s so squirmy. She’s a sweetheart, and she couldn’t have gotten a better home.”
(Photos: The Italian greyhound now named Jezabelle; by Natalie Kolb / The State News. You can find more photos of Jezabelle here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: andrew david thompson, andrew thompson, animal control, animal cruelty, animals, chloe, chloe 2, cruelty to animals, dogs, east lansing, italian greyhounds, jezabelle, jodi lebombard, joyce heideman, killed, killer, killing, lone survivor, michigan, michigan state university, okemos, pets, probation, sentence, serial murderer, southside animal hospital, survivor, veterinarian