Molly, namesake of the Marion County Animal Abuser Registry, has retired

While some may say 14 is too young an age to retire, now is the right time for Molly – given that she is a dog and is well past the typical retirement age of human years. .

The Marion County icon, an American boxer/Labrador mix whose abuse led to the creation of a local animal abuser registry, concluded her career as an animal welfare ambassador by filming one last commercial Wednesday afternoon.

Among his retirement gifts will be a personalized diamond tag on his collar, unlimited golf cart rides, and maybe even a statewide muggers registry in the future.

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The namesake of ‘Molly’s Law’

Now in the custody of SPCA President Lilly Baron, Molly is a survivor of a violent incident in 2014, when she was beaten with a bat and stabbed in the head with a knife multiple times.

The Marion County Commission passed the “Molly’s Law” in October 2016, creating a registry under which those convicted of animal abuse cannot own, work or live with animals for a certain number of years in depending on the seriousness of the crime. There are currently 14 people on the register.

Parade Ambassador Molly rides with Marion County Commissioner David Moore during the Dunnellon Christmas Parade in Dunnellon, Fla. on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018.

“Molly is 14 now and she’s done her job,” Baron said Wednesday. “She educated thousands of people, good local and national politicians. She went to Tallahassee and met politicians. She just filmed a documentary about her story, what happened to her, and how people can get a registry of animal abusers in their city and state.

As part of her role as an ambassador for the past few years, Molly has attended many public events, from Light Up Ocala to parades to pet shows to educate the public.

Pushing for a statewide animal abuser registry

Although their current goal is to get a registry in Florida, Baron has received phone calls from as far away as Australia, New Zealand and England asking for information about their work. If Molly could talk, Baron says, her retirement speech would argue for the registry to expand beyond Marion County.

“’Let’s get a statewide animal abuser registry.’ ” Baron said on behalf of Molly. ” ‘I worked very hard to achieve this. Now it’s up to the people of the state of Florida to decide.’ ”

A bill (SB1806/HB1341 Animal Abusers) has been introduced by State Representative Kristen Arrington and Senator Shevrin Jones for a statewide registry. A petition has also been launched to raise awareness.

“It was submitted to the House. It went through first reading. It now goes to committee,” Baron said. “He’s headed for the right channels. We don’t know if that will happen, but that was our goal.

Although Molly’s namesake and legacy lives on, she will seek a quiet retirement from the years of large public gatherings she attended.

“She’s doing great, but she has arthritis and she’s been getting treatments two or three times a week for her arthritis, and she’s slowing down,” Baron said. “Every day we spend with Molly is a blessing.”

A diamond necklace, a statue, and plenty of golf cart rides along the way

Ocala SPCA President Lilly Baron rides Molly in her golf cart August 20, 2014. American/Labrador boxer Molly was beaten and stabbed in Ocala in April.  She was fostered by Baron for two weeks, then Baron officially adopted her.

Her favorite pastime, which she will do a lot in retirement, is riding around the neighborhood in a golf cart to visit neighbors and their donkeys and horses, Baron said.

As a gift for her service, Luxury Diamond Company of Summerfield makes Molly a custom-designed piece.

“We’re making a special necklace for Molly that will look like the one she currently wears day to day, her little bling necklace,” jeweler Blake Gallaher said, referring to Molly’s current bone-shaped tag. .

“We actually have a lot of animals ourselves,” Gallaher explained. “It just hits home. After meeting her (Baron) and Molly, if I can give back locally, that’s what I love to do.”

Another tribute to Molly will also come in the future. Sculptor Nilda Comas is creating a life-size porcelain depiction of the dog that will be located in Marion County.

Baron would like to see the statue installed at Citizens’ Circle in downtown Ocala, near East Fort King Street and Southeast Osceola Avenue, as Molly has attended many events there.

Lilly Baron, right, talks about Molly, an American boxer and lab mix who was brutally abused and tortured, as artist Nilda Comas, left, listens on Oct. 28, 2021, at the Marion Theater.  Comas, whose recently completed sculpture of leader and civil rights educator Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, will represent Florida at National Statuary Hall, announced a new sculpture of Molly at the event.

Marion County Animal Services Director Jim Sweet called Molly a “wonderful pup” who has a wonderful attitude and behavior towards people despite what she’s been through.

“It went from a very tragic accident to something very beautiful. This pup is a survivor. She’s recovered,” he said. “She’s a true representative of why we need and should continue to have an animal abuser registry, but not here, but maybe even statewide.

“We wish her the best,” Sweet continued. “We want Molly to enjoy her retirement and do what she does best, which is, from what I understand, she likes to hang out on the couch and go for rides in the golf cart. golf.”

Contact reporter Danielle Johnson at [email protected]

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