When Trudy was turned over to volunteers at Partners for Pets, the dog’s wounds were so extreme that she wasn’t expected to live through the night.
Trudy is a Jack Russell terrier mix, between 2 and 5 years old. She was found about a week ago in Venice with injuries so severe that those treating her initially suspected she was part of a dogfighting ring. She was dehydrated, with a number of puncture wounds, other lacerations and injuries to her mouth, as well as a life-threatening infection.
Enter Partners for Pets, which takes animals with severe physical or medical problems and attempts to rehabilitate them to a “fur-ever” home, including animals that shelters or animal control facilities would have to euthanize. “We are their last hope,” said spokeswoman Amanda Tackett.
Trudy seemed like a hopeless case: with her dehydration and injuries, she could not stand or walk, and the wounds on her head and around her mouth had turned necrotic. “It was pretty grotesque,” Tackett said.
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Veterinarians working with Partners for Pets had to debride the wounds — removing dead tissue — and use cold laser therapy, Tackett said. “It helps speed up the healing process and helps her body respond better,” she said.
Meanwhile, the debate about what happened to Trudy and who is responsible continues. Venice Detective Brandon Schellenberg said he could not reveal too much information, because it is an open investigation. But he said they are considering it more as an abuse and neglect case than one linked to dogfighting.
But Tackett said from their experience, Trudy’s injuries are consistent with being a “bait dog,” which in dogfighting is a more docile animal, sometimes a stolen pet, used to train the fighting dogs how to kill.
“Sadly, these kinds of wounds can be inflicted from abuse,” she said. “Our medical assessment is that Trudy’s mouth was bound either with duct tape or another ligature.”
Our medical assessment is that Trudy’s mouth was bound either with duct tape or another ligature.
Amanda Tackett, Partners for Pets
Trudy’s wounds were several days old by the time she was in their custody, Tackett said, and by then the infection was life-threatening.
“We may not know for sure how she was hurt, or why, but this certainly appears to be a tragic instance of abuse,” Tackett said.
Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said it was too early to say what exactly happened, but the case is being investigated as serious animal abuse. He said he is grateful that Partners for Pets and Horseshoe Lake Animal Hospital have stepped up to help care for Trudy.
Tackett said Partners for Pets is getting a lot of tips and “chatter” on social media about what might have happened. “We are letting law enforcement handle it,” she said. “They are taking it very seriously.”
A week later, Trudy is living in a foster home. She is in stable and her condition is improving, but she is not out of danger. She continues to receive cold laser therapy. There is still significant infection, and the debriding process of removing dead tissue makes her look even worse than she did in the beginning, Tackett said, but she is improving.
It was pretty grotesque.
Amanda Tackett, Partners for Pets
The dog is young enough to rehome and could have a nice, long life, Tackett said. Trudy is friendly and loves to lie on human laps, to be hugged and cuddled, she said.
“She’s very, very sweet; she has responded to her foster home beautifully,” Tackett said. “She seems to be so relieved… She responds to loving touch and being petted. She’s getting more playful and her personality is coming out.”