$5,000 reward for arrest of those responsible for pit bull abuse case

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Animal Protection New Mexico is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the abuse of a severely injured pit bull found in El Cerro.

Animal Protection New Mexico is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the abuse of a severely injured pit bull found in El Cerro.

On Nov. 29, an El Cerro resident found an adult female dog near his property on San Francisco Avenue with severe injuries that included gunshot wounds.

The dog, named Mercy, was malnourished and dehydrated and had multiple bite marks and significant damage to her jaw when she was picked up by Valencia County Animal Control.

Mercy's right eye is blind because of a bullet fragment lodged behind it and the dog has an infection from constant neglect.

"(The abuse) is not something that happens to it in one day," said Erik Tanner, director of Valencia County Animal Control. "It was something (the dog) was subjected to over time."

Tanner said he hopes someone will step forward to give officials a lead on the whereabouts of the dog's owner.

Tanner said Mercy, a 3-year-old pit bull, had to be picked up when officials arrived to take her to Valencia County Animal Control.

"She was sick," Tanner said. "(The dog) didn't want to move."

As of Friday, Mercy had already undergone one surgery and is expected to undergo several more. The dog suffered severe damage to her genitals and face, tongue and muzzle.

She also had several broken teeth when she was discovered. It was reported that Mercy had injuries consistent with her jaw being wired shut.

Tanner said he doesn't think Mercy was a bait dog, an animal that is used to train dogs to fight. So far, Mercy has not shown any signs of aggression.

"Either way, someone was responsible for this animal," Tanner said. "It didn't get in this condition by itself."

Ashley Pedroncelli of Viva! Animal Rescue NM said the group picked up Mercy from the animal shelter and was on their way to Albuquerque when the president of People's Anti-Cruelty Association, an Albuquerque animal rescue group, called to offer to pay part of the veterinarian bill.

Pedroncelli said Mercy will have surgery to have the bullet removed and will stay with the veterinarian over the weekend. The group expects her to be placed in a foster home next week.

She said Mercy had surgery to fix her jaw and will have another surgery to remove a bullet from her neck in the next couple days.

Mercy could go to a foster home to recover from her injuries and then be adopted out at a later date. Pedroncelli said Viva! will help pay the vet bill that is estimated to be at least $5,000.

Lanya Dearholt, president of People's Anti-Cruelty Association, said her group wanted to do their part as a rescue group.

She said her group plans to pay the majority of Mercy's vet bill.

"(Mercy) is young, and by all accounts, she's doing a lot better," Dearholt said.

In a separate case, a puppy was found in a trash pile on a ditchbank the same day as officials picked up Mercy.

Tanner said the puppy, which is 6 to 8 weeks old, had injuries consistent with being thrown out with the trash.

Tanner said he hopes the awareness of the recent animal abuse will garner an arrest in both cases.

If you have any information on either case, call 1-877-548-6263.

"Hopefully, somebody will come forward and give us a tip that will pan out," said Tanner.


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.