The dog who lived
Found bloody and battered, Chloe No. 2 thrives as Jezabelle with new family
When Jodi LeBombard first saw a bruised and bloodied Italian greyhound shaking alone in a closet, she didn’t think the white, 3-pound puppy would survive.
LeBombard, a deputy for Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter, rescued the puppy formerly known as Chloe No. 2 from the home of former MSU medical student Andrew Thompson on June 21, 2011.
The 24-year-old faced 13 felony charges of animal killing in Okemos, Mich., and East Lansing. In April, he pleaded guilty to three charges, and on June 13, he was given five years probation and sentenced to continue psychiatric treatment, pay more than $5,000 in court fines and restitution, perform 400 hours of community service and maintain at least 30 hours per week employment.
Chloe No. 2 — renamed Jezabelle — now lives in a happy home with MSU alumna and veterinarian Joyce Heideman.
More than a year after her rescue, Jezabelle stands as the only surviving dog from Thompson’s abuse.
Today, the same dog that was reduced to whimpering in a closet, found herself a new, happy home, but the journey to get there wasn’t an easy one.
When LeBombard found the puppy during a June 21, 2011, investigation of Thompson’s apartment, the small animal was bruised and defecating blood in his closet. The outlook didn’t look good.
“I really didn’t believe that she would (survive), but I had hopes that she would,” LeBombard said. “She was pretty injured.”
In June 2011, Thompson admitted to killing the greyhounds by throwing them against the wall or floor or grabbing them by the neck and beating them during an interview with LeBombard.
Sometimes they died instantly, sometimes they took a few days.
Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter contacted Heideman and asked if she would see Chloe No. 2. The puppy was then taken to Southside Animal Hospital, 5134 S. Martin Luther King Blvd., where the puppy was examined for injuries. The diagnosis: bruises, internal bleeding and fluid in her lungs.
Heideman said she didn’t expect Chloe No. 2 to live. But three days into the puppy’s recovery, Chloe No. 2 was taken out to go to the bathroom. As she stood on a pad, the puppy saw a small leaf lying next to it. With one sudden burst of energy, she jumped and pounced on the leaf.
“That was the first time I knew she would actually live because she showed there was something in there,” Heideman said.
Six days into her recovery, Heideman adopted the puppy. With a new owner came a new name — Jezabelle.
With a house full of larger dogs — two boxers, two labs and one pit bull — Heideman said she never expected another addition to her home.
“I never really thought I would actually adopt her, but I kind of fell in love,” she said. “She snuggles up next to you, and you just feel like, ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter what happened today, I’m just happy now.”
After her extensive abuse, Jezabelle was expected to become skittish, anxious and uneasy around humans, but LeBombard said it’s quite the opposite.
“I’m not surprised that she’s pretty outgoing now, she wouldn’t hurt a fly,” she said. “She seems to be a very loving and kindhearted dog that wouldn’t hold a grudge against anyone.”
Daily life for Jezabelle now includes playing with her best friend Pete, Heideman’s one-eyed pit bull she rescued after he was abused with a baseball bat.
The two enjoy running in their large yard and attending obedience training at AnnaBelle’s Pet Station, 600 S. Capitol Ave., in Lansing.
As for Thompson, Heideman said she obviously doesn’t hold much grace toward Jezabelle’s previous owner.
During his sentencing in June, Thompson said he was disgusted, embarrassed and felt overwhelming remorse for his actions.
“I’m shocked I even let it get to this point,” Thompson said, apologizing to the court and promising it would never happen again.
Judge Paula Manderfield of Lansing’s 30th Judicial Circuit Court said incarcerating Thompson would not be a benefit to society and sentenced probation.
Heideman said she, along with other Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter officials, were not satisfied.
“People who write bad checks get more time in jail than somebody who killed (13) dogs,” Heideman said. “There’s something wrong with our legal system.”
Heideman said abusing animals is a precursor to harming other people.
“I hope that other schools will hear about this and he won’t go to (medical) school anywhere else because obviously that would give him an access to people,” she said.
More than a year after Jezabelle’s rescue, LeBombard said she still makes time to stop by Heideman’s animal hospital and visit the puppy.
“I get to go over there and give her hugs,” she said. “You can’t even hold her she’s so squirmy. She’s a sweetheart, and she couldn’t have gotten a better home.”
As for Heideman, she said she has Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter to thank for their hard work in the pursuit to find Jezabelle.
“If they were not the organization that they were, they may not have ever found her in that closet,” she said. “She may not even be with us today.”
At the end of the day, Heideman said she wouldn’t change a thing about taking another dog into her home.
“That is the best experience you can have — to take a dog that either nobody wants or somebody’s neglected or has almost been on death’s door and basically have them grow into this … unconditional lover,” she said. “That’s just a wonderful experience all by itself.”