In my work I receive a lot of emails. Some cover topics the Northwest Florida Daily News would never cover (like this press release I received headlined MANSCAPED™ to attend the Jefferies 2022 Consumer Conference), but that’s probably a topic for a future column. However, last week I received an email that broke my heart.
Alaqua Animal Refuge officials emailed that they were cooperating with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office while investigating three separate animal cruelty cases.
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A dog was tied to the bumper of a truck and dragged down a road for 8 to 10 miles. Alaqua is treating the dog, who was in critical condition at the time of writing and was missing a lot of skin and toenails.
“Ironically, the dog is in good spirits despite the willful cruelty inflicted on him,” Alaqua founder Laurie Hood wrote in the email.
Another dog was chained outside with a lanyard and had significant wounds around his neck.
In the third case, a Chihuahua was killed when someone fell on the dog during a stabbing incident.
I will never understand how some people can be so cruel to animals.
This news came especially close to home for me when my wife and I adopted a dog from Alaqua that we later discovered had been abused by humans.
Jenny and I adopted Nick, a (we think) bluetick coonhound in September 2018, but this was not our original plan. We had lost our Maltese, Mason, earlier this year and we went to Alaqua to see a group of Maltese mixes brought in from a hoarding situation after the previous owner was no longer able to care for the dogs.
While on our way to watch the Maltese mixes we ran into a volunteer from Alaqua who was taking Nick back to his kennel after having surgery to remove his right eye. We were told that he and his two brothers had recently been taken to Alaqua from a farm in northern Walton County and that Nick had been injured in a dog fight (not a human dog fight, but two dogs getting into an argument). I gave Nick a pet that day, told him I hope he would feel better soon, and then went to see little white dogs.
We chose a white Maltese mix that we named Phoebe to adopt, but Phoebe had heartworms when she was taken to Alaqua and had to complete her treatments before we could bring her home.
Because we couldn’t take Phoebe home at first, Jenny and I drove from Fort Walton Beach to Freeport to visit her a few times a week. Unbeknownst to Jenny, every time we went to see Phoebe, I stopped by Nick’s kennel to check on him. Finally I told her what I had done and we were able to get Nick home before Phoebe.
It wasn’t until we took Nick, who we named after Nick Fury from the Avengers because they both have one eye, to our vet that we found out what really happened to him.
He had a spot in his right ear that looked like a pimple. The vet rocked it back and forth a bit and eventually a bullet came out of a BB gun. Then we took a closer look and found about half a dozen granules all over his tiny body, including two in his head, one in his forehead right next to his missing eye. We also noticed that he has a scar on his left front leg where it looks like someone cut him.
Despite the fact that some monster tortured this dog and used it for target practice, Nick is the sweetest puppy. I don’t know why, but he loves all people, especially children.
We let Alaqua know what we found and that whoever told them Nick was injured in a dogfight was wrong. I don’t know if they were able to cooperate with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and investigate Nick’s surrender or not.
However, I will be eternally grateful to Alaqua. Not only have we adopted three beautiful and wonderful dogs from there (we also got our Great Dane, Poe, from Alaqua during their major rescue operation at the Great Dane in 2016), but she and other agencies like them are doing so much to keep animals safe. to keep.
I shouldn’t say this, but please treat animals kindly. If you see or suspect that an animal is being neglected or mistreated, contact the local police to have them assess the situation. And if you know someone who shot a cute gundog puppy with a bullet gun about four years ago, I’d love to talk to them.
Dusty Ricketts is the content coach for the Northwest Florida Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.