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Friday, Jul 21, 2006County: Luzerne
» Candy Celler
» Steven Pursel
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
Darren Stucker and his 12-year-old son were out walking the family dog on the afternoon of July 21 by the railroad tracks in the Breslau section of Hanover Township when they saw a stray dog heading for the woods.
They called to the dog and it came over, tail wagging and friendly as could be.
But when it drew near they noticed something was wrong. A wire noose was wrapped so tightly around the dog's neck, and imbedded so deep, "I don't think you could get it that tight manually," Stucker said.
"It was unbelievable. The dog was wheezing and his neck was crawling with maggots."
Stucker put the dog, a black and gray female terrier mix, in the back of his van and took it to Luzerne County SPCA.
Dr. Inayat Kathio, a veterinarian for the SPCA, operated on the animal Friday afternoon. He said when it came into the Pittston Animal Hospital, "I was amazed he was still alive."
Kathio, a veterinarian for almost 30 years, said this was the worst case of animal abuse he has ever seen.
In order to inflict such injuries, Kathio said, someone most likely dragged the dog behind a vehicle.
The animal not only had maggots in its neck wound, but also in its eyes, ears and anus.
"We started removing the maggots outside the hospital; then I took all my surgical tools and my table outside because the smell was so bad I thought people were going to start fainting, so we did the surgery outside," he said.
The wound around the dog's neck, caused by a 10-guage wire leash, had cut all the way through the neck muscles, severing the left jugular vein and exposing the spine, Kathio said.
He was surprised the 2-year-old dog was still alive, not only because it had a severed jugular vein, but also because it appeared the wounds were several weeks to a month old and the animal had "lost most of its blood."
"This is one of the worst conditions I have ever seen an animal in," he said. "When my staff saw this dog they just started crying, they couldn't believe someone had done this to the dog."
The animal is now in stable condition and was walking around after its surgery Friday, Kathio said.
|Two people have been arrested and convicted in an animal abuse case in Luzerne County. SPCA officials said it was one of the worst cases of abuse they have ever seen.|
Credit is being given to a local veterinarian, a reward and a tip call, what started as a tragic story, had a happy ending.
Darren Stucker's dog, Puddles, is a healthy, energetic dog. "She's very gentle with the kids. She's very gentle with our bichon. The bichon is just a baby and you should see them play together," Stucker said.
Last summer Stucker found Puddles lying in a puddle near his home with a chain embedded in its neck.
"As I got closer I saw that it was a wire wrapped around her neck several times and it was just infested with maggots and she wasn't breathing well at all," Stucker recalled.
He took the dog to the SPCA and Dr. Inayatullah Kathio in Pittston performed emergency surgery to save the animal.
SPCA workers said it's one of the top 10 worst cases of abuse they've ever seen.
"If there is a top 10, it's a god-awful top 10 to have, but I say if there is such a thing, it has to be right up there," said Vince Sweeney of the Luzerne County SPCA.
Soon after news of the abused dog spread, someone offered information about Puddle's former owners.
Candy Celler and Steven Pursel were cited, and a few weeks ago they pleaded guilty. Both were ordered to pay about $3,000 each in fines and restitution.
"I don't know why anyone would ever hurt a dog like that," Stucker added.
Puddles was adopted by the same family that found and saved her and is now living and playing happily.
"It's a happy ending, maybe not for the person paying the fine but for everyone else, it's a happy ending," Sweeney said.
"She just worked her way into our hearts and she's just as happy as can be and we're happy she's here," Sucker said.
The anonymous tipster in this case will receive more than $5,000 in reward money; $2,500 from the Humane Society of the United States and $3,000 from veterinarian Dr. Kathio.
|Source: WNEP - April 17, 2007|
Update posted on Apr 17, 2007 - 8:24PM
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