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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 22 December 2005 Issue

Female pit bull is under a veterinarian's care after being found with her mouth clamped shut

By STEVE THOMPSON
Published December 6, 2005

CRYSTAL SPRINGS, FL.  - When the carpenter first saw the puppy, it was facing away from him under the corner of a vacant double-wide. The dog turned, and Gary Franckewich could see there was something strange about its face.

"It looked like it had a monkey face," he said. "Its tongue was out of it's mouth."

He got low on his knees as the puppy stepped toward him. "I just looked into her eyes," Franckewich said, "and she looked at mine."

A rubber band clamped the dog's jaws over its tongue. The female pit bull terrier had been stuck that way, with no possibility of food or water, not even able to suck her tongue back in, for perhaps several days.

"If that dog could talk," Franckewich said, "she would've been saying, Please, help me."'

Franckewich said he couldn't help crying.

Flies circled the tongue.  Maggots had found it. The smell was nauseating.

Franckewich retrieved a blanket from his truck.  He wrapped the puppy in it, left the Bay Avenue mobile home where he had been working Monday afternoon and headed to Crystal Springs Veterinary Clinic.

As veterinary technicians took the dog from his truck, Franckewich wondered:  How was it that, after being subjected to something so cruel by a human, the puppy seemed to know that they would not hurt her?

"This dog had this trusting heart, and she was so betrayed by some
horrible, sick person or persons," Franckewich, 46, said Tuesday.

A day after the incident, he still could not recall it with an uncracked voice.

Neither could Pam Edris, the office manager at the Crystal Springs Veterinary Clinic.

"It's very hard for me to talk," Edris said Tuesday. "It's been an emotional couple of days."

They named the 14-pound puppy Miracle. Her face is swollen. She is on an IV. And the veterinarian was forced to amputate more than half of her tongue.  There's no telling when she will be able to relearn how to eat or drink again without it.  Maybe never.  If not, they will try a feeding tube.

Someone had wrapped the rubber band several times around the 4- or 5- month-old puppy's snout. "As far as her tongue was pulled out, and as tightly as it was wrapped," Edris said, there was no doubt it was done deliberately.

The veterinary bills will climb easily beyond $1,000, Edris said.

Franckewich said he wants to adopt Miracle, but needs help.

"I live paycheck to paycheck, and I got 50 cents in my pocket right
now," he said. "But I'm going to take care of this dog if I can."

-- Steve Thompson covers crime in Pasco County. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6245 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6245.  His e-mail address is sthompson@...

HOW TO HELP

The Crystal Springs Veterinary Clinic can be reached at: 813-788-4511.
 
The Pasco County Sheriff's Office asks anybody with information about what happened to the puppy to call toll-free 1-800-706-2488.

Return to Animals in Print 22 December 2005 Issue

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