RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — Investigators are trying to identify the person responsible for inflicting a German shepherd mix with a neck wound so deep, her head appeared ready "to come off."
"This is clearly a major neglect cruelty case," said county Department of Animal Services Director Rob Miller. "We are stunned, like so many others will be, when they see how this dog was left to suffer. We can only hope that this case will also remind pet owners never to tie cords or twines around a dog's neck. Dog collars also have adjustable lengths for a reason."
The 18-month-old female suffered from what animal control officers described as "embedded collar," which occurs when a constricting device is left tightly wound around an animal's neck so long that it lacerates and eventually kills the surrounding flesh.
Photos of the injured dog showed exposed dying flesh at least an inch deep.
The would apparently was the result of someone tying a shoelace around the dog's neck when she was a puppy.
The severely injured dog was found in the predawn hours Thursday by a resident of the 21000 block of Pepper Drive, in unincorporated southwest Perris, Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh said.
The 19-year-old man was returning home after working an all-night shift and said he could tell the animal was hurt, so he left it some food.
Ernesto Perez said that when he emerged from his house hours later, he got a better look at the dog and realized its condition was dire.
"Honestly, I thought her head was going to come off. That's how deep (the wound) looked," Perez said. "It's crazy. I have never seen anything like that. I don't know how anyone could let a dog get like that."
He told KCAL9's Crystal Cruz that the dog got to him personally.
"It put a soft spot in my heart and I'm usually not a soft person but it put a soft spot in my heart," he said.
Perez and his girlfriend tempted the dog out from under a trailer with food and were able to contain her until an animal control officer arrived.
He told Cruz he and his girlfriend would love to adopt the puppy.
The dog was taken to the county's Jurupa Valley shelter on Van Buren Boulevard, where veterinarian Sara Strongin sedated the dog and treated her injury.
"Dr. Strongin said that the wound cannot be surgically closed at this time due to the degree of infection and necrotic tissue," Welsh said.
She called it one of the worst cases of neglect she'd ever seen.
"She's got a long road ahead of her. She's very shy she obviously hasn't had a lot of socialization," Dr. Strongin said about the pooch everyone has started to call Sadie.
Miller says his staff believes Sadie will survive. She is on a course of antibiotics and being closely monitored, he said.
The nonprofit Animal Solutions Konnection Foundation has posted a $1,000 reward for the apprehension and successful prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the animal's abuse and neglect.
Anyone with information was urged to call animal services at (951) 358-7387, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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