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Good Samaritan recognized for helping rescue 16-year-old dog abandoned in Westside dumpster

‘The reward is being able to find that dog,’ Earl Sparkman says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A good Samaritan who helped rescue a 16-year-old dog abandoned in a Westside dumpster was recognized as a hero by police.

Earl Sparkman was also awarded $1,000 worth of Walmart gift cards from the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police.

Officer Nicole McBroom, with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and Jacksonville FOP President Steve Zona surprised Sparkman with the reward shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday.

“We truly believe that dog wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for what you did,” Zona said. “So on behalf of all the police officers here in Jacksonville and the Fraternal Order of Police, we want to give you a $1,000 worth of Walmart gift cards to say thank you, sir.”

Last week, Sparkman found the dog, named Sheba, at the bottom of a metal dumpster near Normandy Boulevard while collecting aluminum cans and gave her water until police and animal control arrived to take her to a shelter where she could recover.

“To be honest with you, the reward is being able to find that dog,” Sparkman said. “I’m just thanking the good Lord that I was able to lift that lid up on the dumpster and be able to find that dog and get it some help.”

He said the dog was heavily panting and stressed.

“When I lifted the lid, the heat coming out was unbearable,” Sparkman recalled. “I actually pushed the dumpster into the shade underneath some trees. It had wheels.”

“His only concern was how the dog was. He wanted to make sure the dog survived. He didn’t care about anything else,” McBroom said. “He was just a genuine person.”

An animal control officer realized Sheba had a microchip, which led police to her owner, 65-year-old Robert Drummond, a retired JSO assistant police chief who was eventually arrested on a charge of animal cruelty, according to an arrest report.

According to the report, Drummond said he had taken his dog to the vet to be euthanized because of her age and because she was blind, deaf and going to the bathroom inside the house. The report states Drummond left the vet because it was taking too long.

But Sparkman became Sheba’s hero.

“It didn’t end up dying a slow miserable death,” Sparkman said.

Sheba is now with a rescue group that works with the local shelter.

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