Updated 7/10, 9:35 p.m.
WEATHERFORD (CBSDFW.COM) - Investigators with the Parker County Sheriff's Office are searching for suspects who tortured and injured a pug-mix breed female dog.
The animal has since been named Hope. A concerned resident spotted the dog wandering in the 6900 block of Baker Road on Monday morning, hurt and frightened.
Animal Control officers on horseback and a group of about 10 residents worked for hours to detain the dog, before finally catching up with Hope late Monday afternoon. According to Animal Control supervisor Karen Kessler, officers found Hope with a severely swollen tongue. Someone had pulled it out of her mouth before using electrical tape to secure the snout shut.
"I see a lot of horrific stuff, I have never seen anything to this magnitude," said Karen Kessler, Parker County Sheriff Department's animal control supervisor. "Somebody should recognize this dog, somebody should know where this dog came from. We need them to call to find leads to find out who did such a crime to this animal."
Hope was transported to Bowie Drive Animal Hospital. She was feverish and dehydrated -- unable to eat, drink or pant from the damage done to her tongue. Dr. Kevin Buchanan estimated that Hope's tongue had been exposed for more than 24 hours, and that a significant portion of it will need to be removed. If the dog is able to eat and drink on her own afterwards, she should be able to survive.
Buchanan and his staff also gave Hope about 100 stitches to seal up internal and external cuts between one and five inches in length, some through muscle tissue. The dog was stabilized and is on pain medication and antibiotics, as well as fluids to rehydrate her and sedatives to calm her down.
Melanie LeBrake found Hope Monday morning. She visited the animal hospital to see her after work on Tuesday.
"Oh my gosh, she doesn't even look like the same dog," she said. "I thought, 'what in the world does she have in her mouth?' I got closer to her, I couldn't believe my eyes; I thought, is that her tongue?"
The tape from Hope has been submitted to the crime lab for analysis. "We are treating this case with the highest priority," said Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler, while urging anyone with information to contact his office at 817-596-8845, or the Parker County Crime Stoppers hotline at 817-599-5555. A $1,000 reward has been offered for anyone with information that leads to the arrest and indictment of suspects.
Cruelty and torture to non-livestock animals is a state jail felony. "I can assure you," said Fowler, "we're going to pull out all the stops to try and find out who did this to this little dog."
The Bowie Drive Animal Hospital is also taking donations to help with Hope's medical care. Contact the veterinary hospital at 824 South Bowie Drive, Weatherford, TX 76086 or call 817-599-6000.
"This is horrendous," said Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler in a statement. "I can't imagine what would bring a person to such an evil act. We are fortunate to have found her when we did. Our investigators have seen some pretty terrible things in their careers, but this case is deeply disturbing and leaves us shocked."
"If they'll do this, what [else] will they do? This is crazy," Fowler added.
Kessler said she felt "somebody cared for her at one point" because the animal is kind to humans.
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