Manatee County Animal Services and the Animal Network are searching for a person who used an ax or a machete to attack a dog, cutting deeply into the dog's skull and sinus cavity.
It was the worst cruelty case animal service officers can remember out of "hundreds of cases a year," said Joel Richmond, enforcement supervisor for Manatee County Animal Services. Such extreme cases tend to be more rare, Richmond said. A bad year may have half-a-dozen cases that rise to felony animal cruelty.
Officer Steve Bell found the dog walking through in the 200 block of 60th Avenue West with a gash to his head so deep that the dog's skull was visible. Bell had been in the neighborhood on an unrelated call and was writing his report in his Manatee County Animal Services vehicle when someone knocked on his window to tell him there was an injured dog in the neighborhood.
Bell went down the block where another resident waved for him and pointed to the area where the dog was wandering the street with a huge gash in his head and face. The brown and white pit bull mix was friendly and walked up to Bell. The animal control officer picked him up and carried him to the county vehicle.
"He picked up the dog and could hardly believe he was alive," said Kris Weiskopf, director of Animal Service. "He could see his skull."
Bell took the dog to Beach Veterinary Clinic and Luke Bergland, the veterinarian, said it didn't appear that the blade had gone into the dog's brain, although it had done damage to his sinus cavity, Weiskopf said.
Weiskopf believes the injury may have been caused by an ax or machete. If they can find a witness, they plan to arrest the perpetrator on felony animal cruelty charges.
Weiskopf, who has been with Manatee County Animal Services for more than a decade, said he has never seen a case like this before. The pictures of the injuries are so graphic Patch is providing a link to them, but has decided not to publish them with this story.
"It's hard to tell what kind of sick and twisted things are in people’s minds," he said. "All anyoen has to do is call us if the dog is bothering you; call us if you don’t want the dog anymore. Not only was it the wrong way to deal with an unwanted dog, it was cruel. And now you’re looking at criminal violations."
Weiskpof said that the person who did this is facing felony animal cruelty charges.
Sue Kolze, director of Animal Network, said she is deeply disturbed at the cruelty and that she is on a mission to stop the animal cruelty cases that prosecutors in Manatee County deal with every year.
No Kill Manatee County and the Animal Network are going to work to capture the person. The two entities are offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the animal abuser. They are also raising money to pay for the veterinarian blll for the injured dog. Donate through pay pal to No Kill Manatee County to help.
They are also hoping to find a foster family who can keep the dog during his recovery and until he is adopted. To volunteer or get information about fostering call Animal Services at 941-742-5933 ext. 8314.