Birmingham resident seeks ‘Justice for Baron’

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 20, 2017

 Baron, a Rottweiler found on the streets of Detroit, is recovering at the Michigan Humane Society. It’s unknown still who abused the dog by deliberately cutting off his ears and nose, investigators say.

Baron, a Rottweiler found on the streets of Detroit, is recovering at the Michigan Humane Society. It’s unknown still who abused the dog by deliberately cutting off his ears and nose, investigators say.

Photo provided by Anna Chrisman, of the Michigan Humane Society

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BIRMINGHAM — Unfortunately, stories about abused pets are hardly uncommon, particularly in metro Detroit.

But that doesn’t mean hearing about them ever gets easier. Leslye Golding, of Birmingham, certainly hasn’t gotten used to it. After more than 35 years of volunteering with the Michigan Humane Society, stories of animal abuse and neglect still deeply affect her.

“I go to walk the dogs every Sunday, and I’ve done some pro-bono work for them, but I’m not on their board or work for them. I’m just a volunteer,” said Golding, who serves as president of Birmingham-based G & G Advertising. “But when I heard about this, I thought something needed to be done.”

It was the story of Baron, a Rottweiler mix found in the area of Livernois and Warren avenues, on Detroit’s southwest side, with severe — and likely intentional — wounds. The dog’s nose and ears had been sliced off, according to MHS Lead Cruelty Investigator Mark Ramos.

“It appears that someone purposely maimed this poor dog, which has caused it a great deal of suffering,” Ramos said in a prepared statement. “This kind of cruelty is unacceptable. We need to be a voice for these animals, and as a community we need to speak through our actions to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

“Baron is resting comfortably, receiving both antibiotics and pain medication. Our chief medical officer, Dr. Robert Fisher, DVM, has determined that reconstructive surgery for his nose is an appropriate option. His ears should heal without any reconstruction, but his tail will most likely require amputation. The MHS veterinary team is still working on the details of his treatment plan at this time,” Anna Chrisman, MHS public relations coordinator, said in an email.

The MHS is keeping Baron under close guard, so Golding hasn’t been able to meet the pup during her volunteer visits, but the images of his abuse circulating in the media stick out in her mind.

She knew she wanted to do something, not just for Baron, but for other animals who might be hurt at the hands of a brutal abuser.

“I know Baron is in good hands (with the MHS) and he’s getting the best care possible. So I wanted to do something that leads to a capture and conviction. I think this person needs to get caught,” she explained.

Knowing that donations to the MHS can’t be specifically earmarked for a particular animal, Golding launched a GoFundMe page aimed at upping the reward money for the person who turns in Baron’s abuser. As of last week, her effort had raised nearly $7,000 toward the reward, which when added to other fundraisers was climbing toward $40,000.

“I’m not sure if any amount is going to be enough to lead to an arrest. Of course I hope it is, but this story has gotten international attention, and I know police are getting tips and leads. But will it be enough for someone to turn in (the perpetrator)?” Golding wondered.

Even if Baron’s abuser is never found, Golding said she can rest easier knowing Baron is safe now, and that the sky-high reward garnered from the public makes a strong statement.

“I want to get this guy or girl caught. That’s why I wanted to do this, and apparently a lot of other people feel the same way. But even if we just get it out there that this type of abuse is unacceptable, I’ve done my job,” Golding said.

All of the money raised by Golding’s GoFundMe page, Justice for Baron, will go to the reward effort. If a suspect isn’t apprehended in the next year, or if one is arrested without the assistance of a tip, the money would be split between the MHS, Detroit Dog Rescue and the Michigan Animal Rescue League, she said.

“We are confident that Baron’s future is bright, and the Michigan Humane Society wishes to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and love for Baron,” Chrisman said.

The MHS does not endorse any GoFundMe page, and asks anyone with information on this incident to call (313) 872-3401.

To find Golding’s page, visit GoFundMe.com and search “Justice 4 Baron.”

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