A 12-week-old puppy with severe wounds to its muzzle — the result of it being bound shut by a rubber band — underwent emergency surgery this week at a Madera pet clinic.
One of the vets who treated the dog said it was among the worst cases of abuse she had ever seen. By day’s end, the dog’s prognosis was uncertain, as there was a chance it would not survive, the vet said.
Police are looking for the owner, and could press charges of cruelty to an animal if the person is found.
On Tuesday, the poodle/cocker spaniel mix named Frankie was found by a family at McNally Memorial Park in Madera. Seeing the horrific injury — the rubber band had cut through the dog’s flesh to its jawbone — the family took it to the Madera County Animal Shelter.
Someone had covered Frankie’s face with Blu-Kote, a germicidal-fungicidal wound dressing. Shelter director Kirsten Gross thought blue wax had been dumped on him.
The dog’s muzzle “was seriously infected, to the point where there was a putrid smell,” said Gross.
Gross took Frankie to Madera Veterinary Center, where he was sedated and placed on antibiotics. The rubber band was wrapped three times around Frankie’s muzzle. Monica Dougherty, veterinarian and co-owner of the Madera Veterinary Center, estimates that it had been there for at least four days.
The rubber band was removed and the wounds cleaned. “The muzzle was so swollen that we didn’t even realize the rubber band was still there until we couldn’t open the mouth,” said Dougherty.
On Wednesday Frankie underwent surgery to suture his wounds. The next five days will be critical to his survival, according to Dougherty.
“We’re hoping that the tissue around the wound stays healthy and doesn’t succumb to gangrene,” she said. “If it does, the puppy would have to be euthanized, but he’s young, so he has a good chance.”
If Frankie pulls through, he can look forward to a full recovery within seven to 10 days, with full use of his jaw.
“This is absolutely one of the worst cases of animal cruelty we’ve ever seen here,” said Dougherty. “We’ve never seen anything like this with a dog so young.”
Madera Veterinary Center provides most of their services to Madera Animal Shelter at cost or donates them outright. Frankie’s treatment normally would cost $600 to $900. Madera Veterinary Center took care of everything for $200.
It also partnered with Friends of Madera Animal Shelter, a charitable organization that raises money to help the shelter pay for services, supplies and equipment, to set up a fundraising drive to help Frankie through his recovery. Donations can be made through the FMAS website at fmas.info using Pay Pal or mailed to FMAS at P.O. Box 923, Madera, 93639.
The identity of Frankie’s owner is unknown, but Madera police and animal control officers are trying to find the person or persons. FMAS is offering a $500 reward for any information that leads to the owner’s arrest and conviction.
Frankie will be placed in foster care until he is fully recovered, at which time he will be made availaible for adoption. Adoption costs $100 and includes neutering and vaccinations. Interested parties should contact the county Animal Shelter at (559) 675-7891.