TERRE HAUTE —
A malnourished and injured young dog is now on the mend after being rescued by animal control officers with the Terre Haute Police Department.
Dubbed “Jupiter,” the pit-bull mix is a female younger than six months whose apparent mistreatment includes a large gash on her head, burn marks on her back and the botched amputation of her tail.
Police hope someone will report who is responsible for the abuse of Jupiter, not only so that criminal charges can be pursued, but to make sure that other animals are not suffering the same type of pain and misery.
“I am so tired of people abusing animals,” said code enforcement officer Laurie Tharp on Monday morning. She and fellow officer Jamie Ennen said they’ve noticed a change in the type of animal cruelty cases they are seeing.
“A lot of the cruelty cases we get are starvation,” Ennen said. THPD averages three or four reports of animal cruelty each week.
And with the colder weather, police are also receiving more reports of people leaving animals outside without shelter, straw for warm bedding, and no food and water. When officers respond to investigate a complaint, they often find animals confined in small areas that are filthy with animal feces, the officers said.
Jupiter was obviously underfed when the officers picked her up Monday morning. The dog was first spotted during the weekend in the area of 16th Street and Grand Avenue when she started following a boy home.
Ennen said she was impressed by how friendly the dog was with officers, even after her ordeal.
“She’s so sweet. Laurie put her in the truck with her and the dog tried to lick her face,” Ennen said.
The officers were horrified by the condition of the dog’s tail, which appeared to have been cut off in a bad attempt to bob it.
They took the dog to the THHS animal shelter, where staff quickly called the Airport Veterinary Clinic on Indiana 46 and arranged for advanced medical treatment.
Jupiter, named for a song playing on the radio when Tharp picked up the canine, received five stitches to the top of her head, and had the remainder of her tail amputated because the tissue was dead and infected.
“We don’t know what caused the trauma,” said Megan Bilyeu, practice manager at the veterinary clinic. “But we do know the injuries happened two to three weeks ago.”
It is possible that some of the injuries came from being hit by a car, Bilyeu said, but it is also likely that someone purposely injured the dog.
The cost of Jupiter’s treatment will be billed to the humane society at a reduced rate, Bilyeu said, but the dog will need antibiotics and pain medicine for several days. Jupiter was also spayed during her brief time at the vet clinic.
Now recovering peacefully at the Terre Haute Humane Society animal shelter, Jupiter’s rough young life is a trend that animal control officers say has been on the rise around the city.
“It seems like we are seeing more abused animals coming in with injuries, not just neglect,” agreed Cheryl Shaver, assistant manager of the humane society shelter. “I am very happy that Laurie and the animal control officers are investigating and will turn this case over to the prosecutor.”
Shaver said Jupiter will remain in the shelter’s infirmary while her injuries heal. She will receive pain medication and antibiotics to fight infection for the next 10 days. However, she can be transferred to a foster family pending adoption.
While the dog seemed a bit subdued on Monday afternoon at the shelter, perhaps because of her medical treatment, she was friendly to visitors and was well-behaved while on a leash.
“She certainly seems to have kept her friendly disposition,” Shaver said. “I don’t think there’s anything more forgiving.”
Investigators, however, are not as forgiving, and are asking for the public’s assistance in finding those responsible for Jupiter’s condition. Tips can be called anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 812-238-STOP, or to the Code Enforcement Division at THPD at 812-238-1661.
You Can Help
• Investigators are asking for the public’s assistance in finding those responsible for Jupiter’s condition. Tips can be called anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 812-238-STOP, or to the Code Enforcement Division at THPD at 812-238-1661.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.