A dog in Gautier is on the road to recovery, after she was allegedly used as bait in a dog fighting ring earlier this month. It's a story we shared with you first on WLOX News. Donations from across South Mississippi poured in to help with Jasmine's recovery.
At a special homecoming Monday night, some came bearing gifts, while others secretly brought her food. But they all shared one goal: to honor Jasmine, a dog that got a second chance at life.
"She's definitely gotten more cards and calls worried about her than I would have ever expected," Jasmine's owner Chris Seiler said.
Seiler was especially surprised at the response, because many donors had never met Jasmine before the party. Biloxi resident M.C. Drake isn't surprised by the generosity of coast residents. She has a black lab at home, and was touched by Jasmine's story of alleged abuse.
"They're innocent. They give you so much love and care and joy. I really could relate to how Chris must have felt to have something happen," Drake said.
Jasmine's new friends hope this incident will bring attention to a much bigger problem. Drake says she didn't know how common dog fighting was. After seeing Jasmine's scars, she realizes how serious the problem is.
"Repulsed. I know there's a lot of bad in the world, but it's especially tragic when it's taken out on helpless children, women and animals," Drake said.
Jasmine's owner Chris Seiler plans to push for stronger penalties against animal abusers, including heftier jail time and fines. He also plans to form a non-profit organization to help owners of abused dogs pay for medical bills.
"Having seen my dog go through something like that, I'd rather no one else did," Seiler said.
Even though Jasmine can't talk, Seiler says her wagging tail sends a clear thank-you to everyone who's helped.