Puppy saved from gang initiation hanging now marks Kent’s 30,000th adoption

KENT COURTESY PHOTO | 4-month-old Mona Lisa was almost killed by a gang of youths.

A puppy rescued as a group of youths was hanging it during a twisted gang initiation has helped mark an adoption milestone at Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton.

Mona Lisa, now four months old, has become the 30,000th animal adopted out of the nonprofit, no-kill shelter for abandoned or abused dogs and cats located on River Road, shelter officials announced Friday.

She was adopted by Chris Kennedy of Coram.

Police officers interrupted the intended hanging, which happened in Bellport, officials said.

“The kids dropped the dog and ran,” Kent’s executive director, Pam Green, said of the incident.  “The dog had a chain around its neck; it was kind of gasping for air at that point.”

The pup, which showed signs of neglect and starvation, recovered at the Brookhaven Town Animal Shelter before she was taken to Kent about two weeks ago, Ms. Green said.

“Through no fault of her own…she found herself living on the street with no means of survival except scavenging for scraps in garbage cans,” Ms. Green said. “She had the further misfortune of encountering a gang of juveniles intent on harming her.”

Mr. Kennedy was actually intent on adopting a different puppy until he spotted Mona Lisa, and then heard her story.

“He took her out and was videotaping her,” Ms. Green said. “And he just absolutely loved her.”

KENT COURTESY PHOTO | Chris Kennedy of Coram is all smiles outside of Kent Animal Shelter.

But he was surprised to later learn he had officially adopted Kent’s 30,000th homeless pet.

“I would have expected a whole bunch of pet-friendly balloons to fall on my head!” he wrote on Facebook, while also thanking the shelter staff for protecting “these little pals.”

For more information about Kent Animal Shelter, which is trying to raise money for an upgraded facility, visit

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