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A family gets left behind

The woman was adamant when she dropped off Muffy and the four puppies. She wanted the mother dog to be clipped and cleaned and dried. She wanted the pups to have their shots, and all four dogs were to be rid of their fleas. She left them at the Westside Animal Clinic on U.S. 19 in Spring Hill on Monday.

She didn't return for the dogs.

It might be for the best.

"They had not been taken care of very well," veterinarian James Hicks said. "They were loaded with fleas and intestinal parasites. The lady at least had sense to take them someplace where they would be taken care of."

The bill amounted to about $150, Hicks said, although he said the money isn't the issue in his mind.

Hicks said the home and work telephone numbers the woman gave the clinic were bogus, as was the driver's license number she left.

Homes have been found for two of the puppies, which are a poodle mix. The pups are 6 weeks old and close to being weaned.

Muffy, a Shih Tzu-poodle mix, is a black, white and putty color. Hicks estimates the dog's age at 2.

"She's a sweetie," he said.

He hopes to find homes for Muffy and her two other pups by the weekend.

"I was going to send 'em to the pound," he said. "I know they'll be adopted, that's not a problem, but I'd just as soon they never have to see the inside of the pound."

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