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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Dog rescuer’s injury forces search for help

One year after taking a blind blue heeler she named Tank from deplorable conditions at a junkyard near Twisp, Washington, Judy Camp is looking for a new home for the pooch.

Camp badly injured her knee, which has made caring for Tank and two other rescue dogs impossible.

“I was taking down a chicken coop,” Camp said earlier this week. “There was a little depression in the ground. I went to turn and my foot was in the hole.”

It’s especially hard to care for Tank, a 6-year-old blue heeler, also known as an Australian cattle dog, whose blindness causes him to run into Camp frequently.

“He’ll get all excited, then he’ll run up and barrel into me,” Camp said, laughing.

The pair have now spent a year together, some of which Camp spent worrying she might face prison time. The self-described animal activist found information about Tank’s living conditions on a website, then drove to the property near the Methow River and took him away on Dec. 9, 2013. Neighbors said the dog was chained to a truck with little attention, food or water. A subsequent visit to the vet found that Tank had scarring on his scrotum, either from a botched neutering attempt or from freezing to the ground.

His owners filed a report with the local sheriff’s office claiming the dog had been stolen. When Camp took Tank to the vet, a sheriff’s deputy was waiting to question her. A scuffle ensued after Camp claimed the dog was hers, and charges were filed, though she paid the dog’s previous owners $500 to be able to keep him.

In March, an Okanogan County jury cleared Camp of theft charges but found her guilty of obstructing justice. She was fined $748 and sentenced to 100 hours of community service.

Camp said Monday she’d served all but 30 hours of her sentence with the local veterinarian’s office.

“People have been really, really nice about it,” said Camp of the response to her legal woes, which were publicized in The Spokesman-Review and other area newspapers.

Those interested in adopting Tank should know he’s blind, still has a problem soiling inside the house and will become overly excited when an engine starts, Camp said. Letting go of Tank will be difficult after all they’ve been through, but Camp says she’s sure he’ll find a decent home in the area.

“He’s still my sweetheart,” Camp said.

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