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Saving Grace: Abused Florida Dog Gets Chance For Better Life

saving graceFrom

Grace is a 2-year-old mixed breed dog that was stabbed by her owner in May.

Following her recovery at Lee County Domestic Animal Services, she entered the Lee County Cell Dogs Program to receive obedience training from Lee County inmates. The program uses inmates incarcerated for non-violent crimes to train shelter dogs so they become more adoptable.

In spite of her ordeal, staff and trainers with the Cell Dogs Program described Grace as a very affectionate, sociable dog that loves people.

Kristi Mershon saw the news coverage of the ordeal that nearly cost Grace her life, and of her transfer to the Cell Dogs Program. She contacted Sgt. Dominic DeBatte, who oversees the program, about adopting her once Grace completed her training course.

On Sept. 16 Mershon finalized her adoption. The once unwanted canine that escaped death will now have the chance at a lifelong loving home with a new family.

“We are thrilled to see her get the good home she deserves,” said Gloria Letendre, kennel supervisor. “Through the Cell Dog Program, she received the training she missed by not having a caring owner to teach her basic skills.”

Grace’s former owner, Michael Bernhart Beckman, was found guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty. He was subsequently arrested again for violating terms of his probation. Beckman has a long history of arrests and violations in Lee County.

Lee County Domestic Animal Services urges anyone who is aware of any type of animal cruelty or neglect to report it to their agency for investigation at (239) 533-7387.

For information about the Lee County Cell Dogs Program: 477-1728. For information about pets for adoption, visit Animal Services’ website at or call (239) 533-7387.

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