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A True Survivor

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Burlington, Vermont - January 15, 2009

He's a small pup with a big personality, who has become very popular in the past few days...

"Now that he's more alert, he's actually a spunky little boy," said Officer Jodi Harvey, of the Burlington Police Department.

But that was not the case last week.

"My only thought was I've got to get him to the veterinarian and quick," said Officer Harvey.

Michou -- a 12-year old poodle -- had been left in a car for 19 days in the frigid cold at the Burlington International Airport without food or water. He had lost more than half of his body weight. A passerby noticed Michou and called police.

"Very thin, weak, just barely able to raise his head to recognize my presence," described Officer Harvey. 

Burlington's animal control officer immediately took action and got Michou to a vet for treatment.

"This is an entirely unintentional mistake that almost became a tragedy," said Lt. Jennifer Morrison, of the Burlington Police Department.

Police say Michou's owner, Pascal Bellon of Quebec, forgot that the dog was in the car when he left on a trip. He has been issued a city ordinance ticket for cruelty to animals, relinquished custody of the dog and will pay for all vet bills, but he will not face any criminal charges.

"There's no indication that this man did this on purpose, I think that you can make the logical leap that if you were intending to harm your animal, why would you leave them confined in your vehicle to make a mess over 19 days if you were really trying to hurt the animal," said Lt. Morrison.

The pup is not up for adoption -- police say he will stay with the foster family who first took him in and gave him the much needed love that helped nurse him back to health.

"He actually has been referred to as a miracle," said Ofc. Harvey.

Beth Parent - WCAX News

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