Dog News

Cindy’s Legacy: A Gift of Liberty for Dog Found Chained and Starving


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Liberty Belle is on the far right
Liberty Belle is on the far right

A few days before Liberty Belle was found, it had snowed. However, there were no footprints from the house to the plastic doghouse in the backyard as Cindy Merz, a volunteer for Michigan Animal Adoption Network (MAAN), searched for a hungry dog at an apparently abandoned home. There was also no sign of a dog in the empty plastic house as she walked up to it, only a snow covered chain draped inside.

A neighbor had called reporting a dog in need of food, though, so Cindy wondered where the dog had gone. She proceeded to the dog house and as she got right up to it, she finally noticed a little black form curled up and flattened to the floor of the house, as animals do when they are weak and dying.

The temperature had been long below freezing and Cindy gasped at the sight of the little dog’s body, obviously frozen. She had to have been like that for days, since there were no dog prints in the snow! Cindy dropped the jug of water and pail of kibble she was carrying and knelt down to reach inside when, suddenly, the dog lifted her head.

There was not a stick of straw around her and the corners of the house had been chewed at the edges. She looked at Cindy and then struggled to stand up. Cindy unhooked the heavy chain around the dog’s skinny neck and pulled her out. She poured water into the empty dish and watched as the starving dog lapped it up slowly, as if every last bit of energy was being focused on standing and drinking at the same time.

From the few feces that were outside the house, it was clear that she had only eaten straw and plastic for the few weeks prior. With no sign of human inhabitants at the house, Cindy carried the dog, later appropriately named Liberty Belle, to the truck and held her in her lap as she drove away. At the first stop sign, the sweet girl looked up and reached to lick Cindy’s face. Her tiny body, curled up into a ball, fit between Cindy and the steering wheel. Liberty alternately stared at and kissed Cindy’s face for the entire 30 miles back to Cindy’s home.

Liberty Belle with family
Liberty Belle with family

Liberty does not know that she is supposed to be a ferocious pit bull. She thinks she is supposed to be a pillow for 3 little boys as they play their video games. She now lives happily ever after with Cindy’s three little grandchildren. Liberty Belle has an incredible joy for life that is evident in her constant butt-wiggle, exuberant slobbery affection and willingness to retrieve any toy thrown for her. Libby is truly an embodiment of love itself.

Cindy Merz was grateful to have been able to help Liberty and many other animals whose lives she saved during her own lifetime. Cindy was a dedicated volunteer for the Michigan Animal Adoption Network until she passed away this past July. Her legacy lives on, though, in the life of Liberty Belle and many other animals that she rescued.


The Michigan Animal Adoption Network (MAAN) is a 501(c)3 no-kill animal adoption network in Roseville, Michigan dedicated to animal care, rescue and adoption in the metro Detroit area. MAAN’s volunteers are committed to finding new homes for displaced pets, such as animals that have lost their homes due to owner foreclosures, divorces, allergies, unwanted gifts, unwanted litters or simply being found as strays.  They engage in many special promotions and other fundraising efforts to further strengthen their various programs: spay/neuter; street rescue program; veterinary care; re-homing animals; and educating the public on animal welfare issues.