DOG MAY HAVE CHEWED OFF LEG
By JAMES CUMMINGS • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
EXETER CENTER – Zoe may have a missing leg and a tumor, but successful fundraising sheds light on an otherwise dark story.
By press time, 36 people had donated $1,800 since Friday morning, Nov. 15, to help cover the hospital costs for the 9-year-old German shepherd that was placed under a veterinarians’ care after a UPS driver noticed she was missing a leg and called state police.
After bone fragments were discovered in her stomach, veterinarians determined that it was likely the dog had eaten its own leg.
Monday, Nov. 17, troopers charged Carl K. Prichard, 59, of 605 County Highway 22, northwest of Exeter Center, with failure to provide proper sustenance, a misdemeanor.
“We’ve had cases of neglect, but never something so horrendous,” said Stacie Haynes, Susquehanna Animal Shelter executive director. “This animal was suffering so greatly and was ignored … It’s really sad.”
The dog was found chained to the ground and living in a plastic pet carrier with no food and a frozen water bowl.
“She’s got a lot of problems,” said Haynes – scarred ears, a heart murmur and anemia. Additionally, the presence of a large mass on her shoulder, which veterinarians believe to be a fatty mass, presents complications with treatment.
“They’re concerned about the mass on her shoulder … best case scenario, surgery could remove it,” said Haynes.
The dog was scheduled to undergo an operation Wednesday, Nov. 19, at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals.
But given the dog’s age and condition, it’s “high risk,” Haynes said, adding, “It will be a very intense process.”
To cover the initial estimated treatment cost of $5,000, Haynes solicited donations through sqspca.org,
the shelter’s website.
She also reached out to Staffworks President and shelter benefactress Anita Vitullo, and is confident enough will be raised, even if costs increase. “I will not be surprised if the cost goes over $5,000,” she said.
Should Zoe recover, adopters have lined up, with as many as 10 individuals interested in the dog.
“We already have so many people reaching out who are interested in adopting her,” says Haynes, but the dog’s condition will require someone with experience. “We think the best plan of action is to ask people with this kind of experience. Someone who has had a dog who has three legs. We’ll try and whittle it down that way.”
Unable to cover the vets’ bills, Prichard, Zoe’s owner, surrendered the animal, then turned himself in to state police at Richfield Springs.
In addition to the misdemeanor, he is facing a violation for failing to provide appropriate shelter for dogs left outdoors. He is set to appear Dec. 4 in Exeter Town Court.
District Attorney John Muehl, who is also a member of Otsego County’s new animal cruelty task force, “PETS,” will be reviewing the case. “I haven’t had an animal chew its own leg off,” he said.
Despite Zoe’s dire situation, Haynes remains hopeful. “Where we live there’s much love for animals and we’re very fortunate,” she said.