'Severed paw' case spawns animal cruelty debate

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jan 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-17 21:35:31-05

A local dog owner could be facing charges for allowing his dog to suffer for weeks with a severed paw. Now the case is sparking a debate over animal cruelty.

“She’s amazing. Considering what she went through, her spirits are up. She’s happy,” Dan DeSousa, Deputy Director of the County Department of Animal Services, said.

Nearly two weeks ago, a tip led county animal services to a City Heights home where the one-year-old terrier mix was, her paw severed with bones sticking out.

“We spoke to the owner who said the Soleil had been hit by a car sometime around Christmas,” DeSousa said. “They knew her leg was in bag condition and didn't have money to take care of it.”

Soleil was seized from the previous owner and brought to a shelter.

A day after being brought in, a veterinarian noticed the infection ran up the length of the leg, leading to the leg being amputated.

At the same time, DeSousa said the case was referred to the D.A.'s office for felony animal cruelty charges.

“Just like a child, it's your obligation to take care of that child. It’s your obligation to make sure that child or animal receive the necessary care,” DeSousa said.

Dsousa said the owner's home remedies weren't good enough.

“The owner did nothing to alleviate her pain. Did nothing to get her veterinary care,” DeSousa said.

DeSousa said without treatment, Soleil would have died.

Locals who spoke with 10News gave mixed reactions to the fate of the dog's former owner.

“It's his dog. He should have taken it to the vet. No excuses,” Ira Barnes said regarding the incident. 

Other locals were more forgiving.

“Possibly he didn't realize there was help in these situations, so jail time is out of the question. He didn't rob a bank,” Laura Mallgren said in response to the news.

While prosecutors weigh charges, the county now charged with finding Soleil a home.                    

“She deserves a wonderful home that will provide love and attention and veterinary care when necessary,” DeSousa said.

Wednesday is the last day County Animal Services is accepting applications to adopt Soleil.

If charged and convicted, the owner will face up to three years in prison.

If you can't afford to care for your pet, call County Animal Services at 619-767-2675 for help from different resources.