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      Neglected huskies

      A 50-year-old Munising man is charged with animal cruelty after a complaint was made to the sheriff's department.

      Robert Johnson is out on bond, charged with animal cruelty involving four to ten dogs, a two-year felony and a misdemeanor charge for those dogs being unlicensed.

      Johnson surrendered four of the dogs to the Alger County Animal Shelter. Two are males, two females; the youngest about two, the oldest around eight. They've come a long way since first arriving at the animal shelter June 20, but they have a long way to go.

      "They're sweet dogs, there's not a mean bone in their bodies," said manager of the shelter, Don Ostrom. "It's just they were brow beaten and yelled at and mistreated, not enough food, and then they start fighting with each other."

      Each dog arrived with a list of medical problems from cancerous tumors to lacerations to skin infections. And then there's the behavioral problems--they don't seem aggressive, but all of them lack socialization.

      Assistant Manager Amanda Wolfe added, "These huskies have obviously never been socialized in a caring, loving way and they've obviously never been loved, so they're shy and they're bashful."

      It's about quality of life, and shelter managers say they'll give these dogs whatever they need to improve the time they have left.

      The cost of sheltering a healthy dog typically costs less than $50; for these dogs, the cost in some cases is well over $500.

      Two of the dogs need surgery, they've needed antibiotics and for Pat, the oldest, his health issues may be too much. If surgery and medicine don't improve his condition, he'll have to be put down.

      It's the worst case scenario for animal shelters and with these dogs comes a message, because they say, it doesn't have to be this way.

      Wolfe stressed, "Turning people in for animal cruelty is not a bad thing; you're not betraying people, you're saving animals."

      The shelter is planning a number of fund-raisers and is accepting donations to help cover the cost of caring for these huskies. Employees at the shelter have vowed to help these animals and in time, when they're ready, find them the loving homes they've always deserved.