Dog rescued from the cold now safe and warm in new home


His story quickly took the internet by storm when a community came together hoping to get Maverick a second chance.

Last month, the Knox County Humane Society shared the dog’s story on Facebook after they took him in from the frigid temperatures.

The shelter says they’d received multiple complaints about the dog being left outside year-round, chained up with inadequate living conditions. 

As a result, the shelter was determined to keep Maverick from being returned to his previous owner. They turned to Facebook, asking the community to help them keep Maverick for good.

But at the time, the dog’s previous owner told Local 4 News he had no intentions of giving the dog up. 

The shelter decided to take legal action, reaching out to the Knox County State’s Attorney.

On Tuesday, Maverick got the happy ending they’d been hoping for.

His previous owner willingly gave up the dog, and was charged with Violation of Owner’s Duties, a Class B misdemeanor. 

Maverick was legally adopted by a family friend of the previous owner, Bernard Helms. He says the comments online actually helped him get the dog for good. 

“I just was persistent and went to go see him and convinced him through the Facebook stories to let me have the dog.”

Helms says, he’s wanted Maverick for years. 

“I’ve known the family a long time,” said Helms. “I wanted Maverick since they first got him.”

While the dog will be returning to his old town of Abington, Illinois, Helms says his life will be very different.

“Maverick won’t be outside by himself.”

But Helms says while he shouldn’t have been left outside all the time, he didn’t have it as bad as it seemed. He says Maverick was especially close to the previous owner’s granddaughter. 

“They had a granddaughter who used to come down and sit on the dog house and read stories with the dog on her lap,” he said. “So I told the granddaughter she could come down to my house and see the dog, and she cried.”

Now Helms says he’s excited he can finally call the dog his own. 

“It was like adopting my own kid.”

And the shelter says his story doesn’t stop here. 

“This is what it’s all about,” said Nancy Leonard, member of the Humane Society Board of Directors. “This is why we do it.”

Now they’re hoping to establish ‘Maverick’s Law’ in Knox County which would prohibit any dog from being left outside for more than six hours at a time. It’s an ordinance already in place for the city of Galesburg, and now they’re hoping Maverick’s story will help them expand that law county-wide.

“You know we’re all about taking care of the dogs,” said Leonard. “They can’t speak for themselves so we have to.”

And while that will take time, they’re just glad Maverick’s happy ending is the beginning of giving dogs like him a better life in the future. 

“It’s gonna work. I’m bound and determined it’s gonna work,” said Helms.

If convicted, Maverick’s previous owner will be banned from owning another animal for up to 30 months. He’s expected to appear in court next month.

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