Shelter Me: Big East Akita Rescue

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Shelter Me: Big East Akita Rescue. Matt O'Donnell reports during Action News at 9 a.m. on August 5, 2017. (WPVI)

This week's Shelter Me we visit a rescue dedicated to finding the Akita breed some loving homes.

Joann Dimon has loved the Akita breed since she was a teenager.

When she noticed them starting to appear in her local animal shelter she was heartbroken.

"The beauty of the breed is their biggest downfall, people get them as puppies and they look like cute little cuddly bears. A lot of people are not prepared or do their homework to realize what it takes to raise an Akita socially and properly," says Dimon.

So she started the Big East Akita Rescue, or BEAR, in 2011 and has saved 500 Akitas in the 6 years since.

The rescue also heads a program called Zach's Mission.

"We focus on Akitas that are left at puppy mills and end up at auction," says Dimon.

Zach's Mission rescued Percy, an 8-year-old Akita who Dimon says has "a beautiful temperament."

Twelve-year-old Katie May was found as a stray on the streets of Trenton. She suffers from Hip dysplasia and needs a sling to get around.

"She's sweet as can be," says Dimon.

Malakai is five and probably too high energy for young children.

"Everyone who sees him falls in love with him," says Dimon.

Billy was skin and bones when she came to BEAR. Doctors discovered she has endocrine pancreatic deficiency, but with a low cost enzyme added to her diet, she's back to normal weight.

"She's just a great girl. Just a happy, easy-going female Akita," says Dimon.

And Cody is a super smart, super agile Akita who needs a lot of exercise.

If you're interested in Cody, or any of the animals featured in this week's report, visit

And, if you'd like us to share your shelter success stories, post a picture to the FYI Philly Facebook page using #6abcShelterMe and tell us where you adopted your pet and how much they mean to you.

We'll be featuring your stories on upcoming Shelter Me segments.

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