“Skin And Bones” Pit Bull Unwanted For Her Ears Gets A Last-Minute Miracle

Written by: Arin Greenwood

May 11, 2016

Starla was the lucky one. Alive, even if she hadn’t yet gotten to live.

The skinny Pit Bull was discovered by parole officers, coming by a home in Detroit to check in on a convicted child molester. There was a bad smell in the house.

The officers found a dead dog in a crate—the source of the odor—and two more dead dogs in the garage.

Five-year-old Starla bore signs of a hard life. Her ears were hacked off, her body was “skin and bones,” says Theresa Sumpter, founder of Detroit Pit Crew Dog Rescue.

But she was breathing. She wasn’t gone.


Theresa was called in to take Starla. She found one more dog who was still living, at the house.

She got the two dogs to the vet, and then to a trainer, with the promise that things would be different from now on.

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Detroit Pit Crew rescues dogs—gets them out of terrible situations, to safety—but ordinarily works with other groups on the adoption end of things. So Starla and the other dog, named Twinkle, were sent to another Michigan shelter.

Twinkle was quickly adopted. Starla was not.

“Nobody wanted her because of her chopped ears,” says Theresa.


Jennifer Nuernberg is director of the Al-Van Humane Society in South Haven, Michigan. On May 7, the shelter was participating in a state-wide adoption promotion called Empty the Shelter Day—for which the Bissell Pet Foundation would be paying adoption fees at more than 20 shelters across Michigan.

Because of all the great publicity preceding the event, folks were raring to adopt, and Jennifer’s shelter was already suffering a dog shortage as May 7 approached.

She spoke with Theresa about this fortunate problem, and arranged to have Starla and a couple of other dogs dispatched to South Haven.

“They thought they could find her a home,” says Theresa. “She deserves it.”


Empty the Shelters Day did, indeed, get a lot of animals into new homes—605 in total.

That includes just about every one of Al-Van Humane Society‘s cats and dogs.

Starla was one of just a few who hadn’t yet been adopted, as the shelter approached closing time on the Saturday. Then Taylor Dalian and her boyfriend Andrew walked in.

They’d been driving around to shelters all day looking for a dog to adopt, but Empty the Shelters was so successful that they kept coming up empty themselves.

The couple drove an hour to get to Al-Van, hoping Starla—whose picture they’d spotted online—might just still be available.

She was. They met her. And that was that.

“The connection was immediate between me Andrew and her, and I knew we couldn’t walk out without her,” Taylor tells BarkPost.

“Wonderful, all around,” says Jennifer. “The perfect fit.”

Ten minutes before the shelter closed, Taylor and Andrew signed Starla’s adoption paperwork. When all was said and done, Starla was the last dog out of the shelter that day.

Here she is, finally going on home.

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In just this short time, Starla’s personality is already blooming. She’s let Taylor and Andrew know she doesn’t like windshield wipers, or basements, or forks and knives. She’s figuring out how to walk on a leash. Even those chopped off ears are coming in handy.

“She is a great listener and is learning day by day,” says Taylor.

Best of all, after being unwanted for so long, now Starla is loved. She is essential.

“She is our heart and joy, and great start to our little family,” Taylor says.


Congratulations on your new family, Starla!

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Written by: Arin Greenwood

May 11, 2016

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