Dog Bound to Fence by Legs, Torso & Neck Escapes Euthanasia to Find Her Soulmate

It was a race against time for Gilly, a German Shepherd mix facing euthanasia at the overcrowded West Los Angeles Animal Shelter. With her “exit” date rapidly approaching, a determined group of rescuers fought tirelessly to save her life against overwhelming odds.

Dog Bound to Fence by Legs, Torso & Neck Escapes Euthanasia to Find Her Soulmate

Unspeakable Cruelty

Gilly’s nightmare began when Noah Kramer found her tied up in a park, her legs, torso, and neck tightly bound to a fence. “Horrified by what he saw, Noah ran home and grabbed a set of bolt cutters. He hurried back to the park, determined to set her free,” rescuer Melissa Klaskin Levy recounts.

Now, what to do with her? With everything she had gone through, Noah wanted her safe. He spent the next eight hours visiting veterinary clinics and crowded shelters. He finally came to the West Los Angeles Shelter and got his first sense of hope that this dog may have a chance to get the help she needed.

When a staff member asked the dog’s name, he paused; he had no idea. After some thought, he said “Gilly” (having found her at Jim Gilliam Park). Over the following few weeks Noah visited Gilly almost daily. He wanted to adopt her, but with two small children and another dog at home, he had concerns.

Dog Bound to Fence by Legs, Torso & Neck Escapes Euthanasia to Find Her Soulmate

A Struggle for Survival

Despite the shelter volunteers’ efforts, interest in adopting Gilly was non-existent. “The fact is that there is extreme overcrowding at every shelter, and many sociable, young, healthy dogs are routinely being killed for lack of space,” Melissa said.

Her plight worsened when Gilly lacerated her paw, requiring surgery and intensive post-op care that strained shelter resources. Post-surgery, she managed to remove her cone and stitches. Her stress levels were climbing, and the medical staff was tiring of having to provide daily care for this uncooperative patient. Gilly was now “orange listed” meaning that she needed treatment beyond what the shelter could give, a.k.a. she was becoming a “problem dog”.

With this status, she could no longer be fostered or adopted by the public. She could only be pulled by a rescue and was given a new euthanasia date. This was a big setback. “When I went to see her, she looked miserable. She was alone in a back room, crated, nursing her damaged paw,” Melissa said. “I left the shelter feeling hopeless. Maybe everyone was right. Perhaps I couldn’t save Gilly, but neither could I give up.”

Dog Bound to Fence by Legs, Torso & Neck Escapes Euthanasia to Find Her Soulmate
This was the Facebook plea that went out about Gilly in January.

A Rescue Heroine Emerges

Refusing to abandon hope, Melissa talked to more networkers and rescues until finally Karla Matthews at Martina Animal Rescue was interested in helping save Gilly, but she needed a committed foster first.

Dog Bound to Fence by Legs, Torso & Neck Escapes Euthanasia to Find Her Soulmate
Through DNA testing, Gilly is a mix of Belgian Malinois, Australian Cattle Dog, German Shepherd & Dutch Shepherd

With the euthanasia date looming, a foster finally emerged! “Now we had all the pieces in place needed to rescue Gilly,” Melissa said.

A New Leash on Life

On Gilly’s fateful rescue day, Noah – her first savior – was there for an emotional goodbye, witnessing her journey to a loving foster home. Melissa beams, “Chris loves Gilly and Gilly is finally safe and happy. With training she is recovering from her fear of strangers…Chris is adopting her.”

Dog Bound to Fence by Legs, Torso & Neck Escapes Euthanasia to Find Her Soulmate
Gilly with Chris who fostered then adopted her.

Through DNA testing, Chris has learned that Gilly is a mix of Belgian Malinois, Australian Cattle Dog, German Shepherd, and Dutch Shepherd. Chris says she hails from the smartest and most energetic breeds making her one amazing dog!

While Gilly’s survival was hard-fought, her story underscores the life-changing impact of not giving up on shelter dogs. “Gilly was so lucky to have a whole network of people committed to saving her,” Melissa says. “It took a village, but seeing her begin the next chapter of her life makes all the effort worth it.”

Dog Bound to Fence by Legs, Torso & Neck Escapes Euthanasia to Find Her Soulmate
Gilly finally found her forever home thanks to animal advocates like Melissa Klaskin Levy

More Helpers Needed

Though Gilly beat the odds, Melisa acknowledges the staggering number still awaiting their fairytale endings: “In 2023, there were more than 359,000 dogs euthanized in America’s shelters.”

By sharing Gilly’s hard-fought journey, Melissa hopes to inspire more folks to get involved, whether adopting, fostering, volunteering or donating. “Every dog deserves a loving home,” she says. “With more caring people like Gilly’s heroes, we can make that dream a reality.”


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