K9s for Warriors takes in four dogs from abuse case in Marion County

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Four out of 31 neglected dogs rescued from an unfit home in Marion County are now starting their new lives in Ponte Vedra. They are now in the hands of local nonprofit K9s for Warriors.

Andy, Candy, Dottie and Waldo will spend the next couple of weeks getting acclimated and then start training to become service dogs.


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K9s for Warriors welcomed the four dogs to their new home a couple of days ago.

Coming from an abusive home in Marion County, the four needed some serious TLC upon arrival, which included proper baths and grooming.

“Their coats were matted to the point where they had to be shaved down. Their skin was discolored by urine stains. They were in pretty rough shape,” K9s training manager Christel Fleming said.

Fleming said despite the circumstances, they’re acclimating well.

“The trainers are just working on building a nice, solid relationship with them. We’re not asking them to do any behaviors. We’re just asking them to relearn how to trust humans,” Fleming said.

Marion County court records show authorities seized all the dogs. Some of the dogs were underweight, and many of them had matted fur and were stained with urine.

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“Animal services did confiscate 31 animals that day. The building is like a commercial type of building,” Marion County Animal Services Director Jim Sweet said.

Sweet could not specify what was going on in the building exactly — if there was a business fronting it or not.

Records said the owner, Kelly Strabley, is unfit to provide for the animals. She was not criminally charged.

However, we discovered this isn’t the first animal abuse case tied to Strabley.

She is on the Brevard County’s animal abuse registry. The charge tied to her listing is the inhumane treatment of animals.

For now, the four dogs in K9s’ hands are past that and working to join the ranks of service dogs.

“Our primary goal is (to) give not only warriors a second chance at freedom and independence, but also our dogs,” Fleming said.

The case was closed out in court, but the county requested a review from the State Attorney’s Office as to whether criminal charges will be filed.

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