Remembering Molly

A celebration of life will be held Thursday to honor the longtime ambassador of the Molly’s Law animal abuser registry.

Hannah Harper, 2 1/2, pets Molly during the Molly’s Law Documentary premiere at the Marion Theatre in Ocala, Fla. on Sunday, April 24, 2022. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

Home » Community
Posted February 19, 2024 | By Susan Smiley-Height,

It was a year ago on Thursday that Molly, one of Marion County’s most beloved canines, passed away. The white mixed-breed dog, who survived life-threatening wounds after being attacked by a human, later became the ambassador for Marion County’s animal abuser registry, known as Molly’s Law.

Molly, 15, died of cancer on Feb. 22, 2023, at her forever home, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Ocala, with her human companion Lilly Baron at her side.

This Thursday, a celebration of life will be held for Molly, beginning with a dove release at 4:45 p.m. at the white marble statue of Molly that is outside the city of Ocala’s Citizen Service Center at 201 SE 3rd St., near the Downtown Market.

Nilda Comas, left, and Lilly Baron raise their arms together after the marble statue of Molly was unveiled at the Citizens Service Center in downtown Ocala, Fla. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2023.

The block from which the figure of Molly emerged, sculpted by Nilda Comas, was mined in Italy from Carrara marble, from what are known as the caves of Michelangelo. Comas, who is in the Florida Artists Hall of Fame and her works have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries in the U.S. and abroad. She created a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune for the National Statuary Hall in the Capitol in Washington, D.C. She is a frequent visitor to Ocala, when not working in her studios in Italy and Fort Lauderdale. Her brother Tito Comas, of Ocala, crafted the base for the statue.

After the dove release, the celebration of life will move to the Marion Cultural Alliance’s Brick City Center for the Arts at 23 S.W. Broadway St., from 5 to 7 p.m. The public is welcome to attend. Light appetizers and beverages will be available.

According to Baron, Comas will be in attendance, “along with other individuals who have worked with Molly throughout the years. Their presence will add a special touch to the celebration.”

Molly was stabbed three times in the head and had her skull fractured with a baseball bat in early 2014. Her accused attacker, Steven Scott Fleming, served time in state prison on three counts of felony cruelty to animals. The animal abuser registry requires that any offender convicted of an animal abuse crime be placed on in the database, which allows citizens, pet sellers and rescue organizations to verify that they are not placing an animal with an animal abuser, according to the Marion County website.

To report animal abuse, within unincorporated areas of Marion County or the city of Ocala, call Marion County Animal Control at (352) 671-8727. For emergencies after-hours or on weekends, contact the Marion County Sheriff’s Office at (352) 732-9111. Within the city of Belleview, contact the Belleview Police Department at (352) 245-7044. Within the city of Dunnellon, contact the Dunnellon Police Department at (352) 465-8510.

The county’s animal abuser registry is accessible at

To learn more about Molly and the creation of Molly’s Law, go to

newspaper icon

Support community journalism

The first goal of the Ocala Gazette is to deliver trustworthy local journalism so corruption, misinformation and abuse are not hidden from the public or unchallenged.

We count on community support to continue this important work. Please donate or subscribe: