Dog Found With Choke Chain Embedded In His Neck Nursed Back To Health

Jean and Jess Smail are advocating to discourage use of metal choke chains in Hawaii after finding a dog with one embedded in his neck.

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Laki was found with a metal choke chain embedded into his neck, very close to his spine. He is recovering. Via A dog named Laki/Facebook
John Virata

A dog that was found in a driveway in Keaau, Hawaii, near death and with a metal choke chain embedded into his neck, was given a second chance at life thanks to a couple who refused to give up on the animal.

Jean and Jess Smail, who moved to the Big Island of Hawaii several years ago from Washington, found the dog in early January at the end of their driveway, emaciated and near death, with a rusted choke chain embedded in his neck. They named him Laki, Hawaiian for lucky.

Posted by A dog named Laki on Wednesday, January 10, 2018

“When we found him, there was probably two inches of chain hanging off each side of his neck towards the front, but no visible chain in the back,” Jean told “It had completely grown over.”

Jean told the local news station that her husband thought the dog was already dead until he pulled up next to him.

“Laki was just able to lift his head up, kind of in a plea for help. He probably would not make it more than a few more hours, he was that far gone,” Jean said. “Our veterinarian and our trainer said they’ve never seen a dog in that bad a condition that was still alive.”

Posted by A dog named Laki on Sunday, January 14, 2018

When they called the Big Island Humane Society for help, all the society said it could do was put the dog to sleep. Jean, a retired veterinary technician, refused to turn Laki over to the humane society and began working to get Laki well.

“We brought him down to our property and made him an enclosure and worked on him every day since then to clean his wounds and get him to heal,” she told

The Smails have had Laki for more than a month now, and he was officially adopted Feb. 5, 2018. Jean created a Facebook page to let folks know of Laki’s story as well as a GoFundMe to help with Laki’s vet bills, but she is more worried that other dogs may be exposed to the same unfortunate circumstance that Laki had gone through.

This was his first time off leash outside his enclosure during a training lesson. This one is place and target exercises. He just gets stuff so fast!!! CHANCE at FOCUSED K-9's HAWAII IS THE TRAINER.

Posted by A dog named Laki on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hawaii State Rep. Cindy Evans has authored a bill that would make certain restraints illegal to use on dogs. HB2072 HD1 would prohibit the use of certain restraints and tethers that endanger dogs or prevent them from eating.

“I’m hoping that people will stop tethering dogs on metal chains and with metal choke chains,” Jean said.

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