A dog who was buried up to her neck and shot twice in the head miraculously survived and is nearly ready to go home with a forever family. The 2-year-old female Pit Bull mix has been named Phoebe by her rescuers at Hillsborough County Animal Services in Florida.
On October 29, Hillsborough County police received an anonymous call. The caller indicated they had heard three gunshsots in the Clair-Mel neighborhood in east Tampa, Florida. When Animal control officers and police arrived at the scene at 9pm they found Phoebe buried in the ground up to her snout. She had also been shot twice in the head and was bleeding badly.
It took 15 minutes to free her from the ground. When they pulled her out of the hole, they discovered she was emaciated and weighed just 30 pounds (she should weigh around 50 pounds). On her way to the vet, she immediately bonded with the animal control officer who freed her, showing a loving and friendly personality. Thankfully, the two bullets caused soft tissue damage but no brain damage.
Animal Services investigator Sgt. Pat Perry indicated at a press conference that they need help to find whoever is responsible for the crime. "This is sick," she said. "Someone took this dog, buried it up to its neck, shot it twice in the head, and then left it to die. If they did this to a dog, they'll do it to another dog, a cat, a child or a person, a friend... and they need to be stopped."
Phoebe was shot with a small caliber weapon, but no shell casings or bullet fragments were found at the scene, Perry said. Although Phoebe's abusers could have been engaging in a random act of cruelty, the other possibility is that the abusers were trying to send Animal Services a message.
Just days before Phoebe was discovered, investigators had rounded up eight dogs from three vacant homes in the Clair-Mel neighborhood. "These dogs had dog-fighting wounds. They were hungry and they were inside these vacant homes," Perry said. "They didn't wander in there. Someone put them in there."
Phoebe is also the second dog this year to be found at the vacant home at 3221 Deerfield Drive. The other dog was found in May. Yet another was found abandoned and tied to the carport in May 2011.
"There are citizens that live in this community who are just trying to survive in what some may call a war zone," she said. On Nov. 9, the Sheriff's Office arrested 25 people during a crime sweep in the neighborhood.
Although mistreatment of animals in the neighborhood is endemic, Perry said there are families in the area that want to see the abuse stopped. She points out that someone made the phone call alerting authorities to Phoebe, so Perry is hopeful that the community will help them find and punish the person(s) responsible for hurting Phoebe. Anyone charged could face five years in prison for felony animal cruelty and additional prison time.
Six weeks after her rescue, Phoebe has fully recovered, gained 14 pounds of weight and is extremely friendly with adults, children and other dogs. Hillsborough County Animal Services is taking applications for her adoption but it will be likely after the New Year when she will be placed.
Phoebe will be meeting Santa on Saturday December 15 and kids and families can come by and meet her between 10am and 2pm at Animal Services on Falkenburg Road and participate in the day's festivities.
Phoebe is ready for the holidays and for a forever home. Photo: Friends of HCAS
Hillsborough County Animal Services is taking applications from potential adopters for Phoebe. Visit their website or contact them at (813) 744-5660 for details on how to apply.
Police and Animal Control officers are actively seeking whoever is responsible for the horrific act of cruelty and have asked for the public's help.
A $15,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to an arrest and conviction. If anyone has with information about this case, they can contact Animal Services at (813) 744-5660 or can call Crimestoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.
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