Abused puppy gets life-saving surgery

OKEECHOBEE — The search is on for the person or persons responsible for injuring an American bulldog puppy estimated to be 6- to 8-months old.

Michele Bell, public information officer for the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), said in an interview Tuesday, Aug. 1, the white puppy was found July 2 in the 3600 block of N.W. Sixth Avenue in Whispering Pines. The dog was suffering with both mouth and facial injuries.

“After being examined by a veterinarian it was determined by x-ray the dog had a broken jaw. The veterinarian said the injuries were consistent with it being kicked or stomped,” said Mrs. Bell.

Okeechobee County Animal Control apparently got a call about the dog and they went to the area and found it. OCSO Deputy Sergeant Arlene Durbin, who heads up animal control for the sheriff’s office, then contacted OCSO Deputy Rusty Hartsfield.

The dog was taken to Dr. Jay Stinson, DVM, at Northlake Veterinary Hospital in Okeechobee, 1107 U.S. 441 S.E., where it was determined the dog had multiple fractures and needed a specialist because of those injuries. Ruff Pet Rescue in Indiantown was then contacted and the dog, later named Rufus, was turned over to them on July 24.

Mrs. Bell said a veterinarian associated with that pet rescue performed the surgery.

“The dog had surgery and the doctor had to put in titanium plates and screws to attach the jaw,” offered Mrs. Bell. “The dog is fine now.”

Rufus is now in need of a home. If you would like to adopt Rufus, contact Ruff Pet Rescue at 954-993-7860. Ruff Pet Rescue is a non-profit facility.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to raise money to pay for the surgery and medical care.

While Rufus is waiting for a new home, Deputy Hartsfield is looking for the person or persons who deliberately injured the pup.

“If you have information on the person who did this, contact the sheriff’s office or Deputy Hartsfield,” said Mrs. Bell.

To contact the deputy call 863-763-3117 and refer to case #17S16781.

A phone call seeking more information from Ruff Pet Rescue was not returned by newspaper deadline.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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