Local rescue group 'Furry Friends Ranch' helps abused animals

PALM CITY, Fla. - A local rescue group is looking to make life a little more comfortable for severely abused animals.

Shelters take in thousands of abused animals each year and many who've been badly injured will never be up for adoption.

With the help of donations, one group is giving a better life for those permanently scarred.

Patches seems like a happy normal dog, but life for this 11 year old pit bull hasn't been easy.

"He came to us broken without a home and we were able to fix him up," said Karl Fethe, Furry Friends Ranch manager.

Rescuers said he had been used as a bait dog, a common form of mistreatment in south Florida.

"He was found almost dead, nailed with his front two feet to a 2x4 and dumped into a canal," he said.

Furry friends rescued Patches and brought him to their ranch ten years ago. Veterinarians did what they could to fix his paws, but they're permanently disfigured. It would take years before he'd get on his feet again.

"It's not perfect, he's very slow," said Fethe.

Furry Friends is making life better for dogs like Patches. Those who've been severely abused and will likely never leave the shelter. A new dog pod provides a posh set up which keeps the dogs cooled off indoors and gives them the freedom to roam outdoors. Organizers are hoping to raise enough funds to build three more.

They were rewarded a $50,000 grant from a private donor. They're trying to match those funds.

"Patches is somebody whose going to stay with us to live his life out, so when we're building this, when we're finished, we'd have a facility that would enable him to have a more enjoyable life than what he is right now," said ranch director, Steve Hinkle.

And as they build a secure, loving environment for these animals, the hope is that lawmakers continue to prosecute their abusers who left them scarred for life.

"I've definitely seen more of a positive trend in the justice system making it more of a severe offense for animal cruelty," said Fethe.

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