PRINCETON — A cash reward is being offered for information leading to the person or persons who inflicted a horrific burn across the back of a 10-week-old pit bull puppy.
The case started Tuesday morning when a small crate containing a puppy was found by the Mercer County Animal Shelter’s receiving door entrance, according to Cindy Mabardy, co-founder of Pit Bull Second Chance Rescue. A male pit bull puppy was found inside it.
“They brought the puppy into the building and they realized the seriousness of the burn,” Mabardy said.
Photos of the puppy, now dubbed Chance, show large, ragged and red sections taken out of the skin across his back, parts of his neck and on top of his head. Mabarby said that a veterinarian has diagnosed the injury as a chemical burn. Chance is now being treated at a veterinary hospital.
“He’ll be there for quite a while,” Mabardy said. “We are going to be working with the police to press charges to hopefully find the person or persons who did this horrific thing to this innocent puppy. And there will be a cash reward. It’s going to be $500.”
Mabarby said she was advised by animal control officers at the Mercer County Animal Shelter to file a complaint, and that she planned to file one Friday at the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department.
“It is one of the worst cases I’ve ever seen, especially to a 10-week old puppy. Evil at its finest,” she stated. “I have enough faith in our community that somebody is going to come forward with information.”
Stacey Harman, the shelter’s director, said she has seen small burn injuries on dogs, but not to the extent seen on Chance.
“For instance, we’ve seen dogs come in here with a cigarette burn,” she said. “This is beyond what we see.”
Chance was in poor shape when he was found.
“The puppy was left outside the door at our facility,” Harman said. “The skin and fur were literally falling off. What happens when an accelerant or chemical, which is what we think this is, is poured over a dog, what it does is it gets down into the tissue. Just like a human when it gets burned, it keeps burning for some time after and that’s what happened to this puppy. His skin was still peeling off. I guess the chemicals were still burning it.”
“If we knew when it was in our care who had done this we would have, of course, pressed charges,” she said.
There was a note found with chance. Its writer said “that when they found it, the skin was peeling off and they didn’t know what to do,” Harman recalled, adding that nobody could be seen when the shelter’s security cameras were checked.
“And, of course, we immediately took it to the vet and then when Cindy saw it, she decided she wanted to take it into her rescue’s care and we decided to let her do that,” she said. “That way it wouldn’t be inside the shelter.”
Treating Chance could cost thousands of dollars, she said.
“It will heal to a point, but he probably will never have fur in that spot,” Harman said. “The saddest thing about it is he’s such a sweet dog and he’s so forgiving. He will just lick you and lay his head in your lap. No animal deserves this, especially a puppy.”
Mercer County’s animal control is through the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, she said. The department can be informed about the case.
“You really can’t file a complaint unless you have specific evidence,” Harman said. “We would need some type of direction and animal control doesn’t have that yet.”
If a person comes forward for the reward money or another reason and provides information, then changes could be filed.
“That’s when the sheriff’s department gets involved. Only a deputy can file the charges,” Harman said.
Chief Deputy Joe Parks said Thursday the department makes arrests for animal cruelty, and the problem has been “rampant” in the county.
People with information can contact Cindy Mabardy at 304-887-3636.
Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline. com