With a report from Canadian Press
May 15, 2007
Bright orange bandages wrap the head of AK, a six-month-old German shepherd-Rottweiler mix who was found whimpering on an apartment balcony with his ears cut off.
Now, the Windsor-Essex County Humane Society in Ontario is investigating what happened to the puppy and who is responsible.
Amy Nardella, an agent with the Ontario SPCA, said the society received an anonymous phone call on Friday saying that a dog was in distress at a Windsor apartment building.
She and a colleague found AK on the second-floor apartment balcony, bleeding and pawing his ears. The owner wasn’t home.
“It did appear that there was severe, severe trauma to the dog’s ears. He was crying and shaking his head and really rubbing his ears,” Ms. Nardella said yesterday. “It’s unbelievable that people would do something like this to an animal.”
She said that at the sound of her friendly voice, AK started wagging his tail when she rescued him. And when she approached him, he licked her and rubbed his body against her.
“He didn’t show any signs of aggression at all. … Despite how much pain he was in, he was still the sweetest dog,” she said, adding that criminal charges may be laid in the coming weeks.
Ms. Nardella alleges that the dog’s ears were cut to make him look more menacing. AK’s owner surrendered the dog to the humane society yesterday.
Legally, owners can get their animals back while an SPCA investigation is continuing, as long as they pay certain fees to the humane society. That’s because animals are seen as property, Ms. Nardella said.
She is encouraging people to call their local politicians to get this law changed so animals will be safe in shelters while the SPCA investigates.
Ms. Nardella suspects that AK’s ears were cut off about five days ago. Although nothing internally has been damaged, the puppy has jagged cuts right down to his head, she said. He is on antibiotics and pain medication.
Under the Criminal Code, animal-cruelty offences are punishable only on summary conviction with maximum penalties of a $2,000 fine and/or six months imprisonment.
Yesterday, a Calgary man who scalded his cat so badly it had to be destroyed was sentenced to three months in jail. The judge also banned Duston Wicker from owning an animal for two years.
And in another case of animal abuse, a Didsbury, Alta., teenager was sentenced to three months house arrest and two years probation last week after he ran over a Lab-border collie by accident, then beat it, dragged it and left the dog to die. The incident provoked outrage among animal lovers.
In AK’s case, Ms. Nardella said, she is grateful to the anonymous caller, even though the woman was too scared to reveal much information. AK’s problems could have worsened and he might have died from a severe infection without the intervention, she said.
For now, AK is receiving special treatment at the shelter. Volunteers have been walking him regularly.
“He’s getting a lot of extra care here. He’s very comfortable because of the pain meds that he’s on. He’s not shaking his head or pawing on his ears any more,” Ms. Nardella said. “You can tell he’s already feeling 100 per cent better than he did on Friday.”