Toby, a semi-stray black lab that lived in a Good Hope neighborhood, is likely to have a completely different life now after being shot this past weekend. And he can thank the Walton County Sheriff’s Deputies who were called out to help euthanize him.
According to WCSO Chief Deputy Keith Brooks, it was WCSO Lt. Mark Hess who responded to the call. Deputy Jeremy Caldwell went out with him.
“From what we understand, it was a stray dog that the complainant took in and had been feeding, but he would often get out and wander around the neighborhood. Sunday night, when he came in he had been shot him in the nose. She wanted us to come out there and euthanize him,” Brooks said. “But that is something we never want to do.”
Brooks said that the owner had contacted someone to euthanize the dog, but did not have the $50 required to do it, which is why she called WCSO to do it instead. Hess, however, was aware of the animal rescue work done by another WCSO Deputy, David Zajac, and his wife Melanie. Both of them work with Bliss Animal Haven in Loganville, an animal rescue organization that specializes in working with animals that are old or injured. And that was when Toby’s life took a more positive turn.
“It’s a pretty bad case,” said Melanie Zajac. “We managed to get the owner to surrender him. I went and got him. He’s in real bad shape – not just the gunshot wound. He should be about 60 or 70 pounds and he’s maybe just 40 pounds.”
She went out and picked Toby up and took him to Bliss Animal Haven where staff were able to take a look at him and see what could be done. They managed to stabilize the injured dog and get some fluids in him before turning him back over to the Zajacs to take him home and take care of him overnight. Toby was then taken to a vet on Monday.
“He is at Monroe Veterinary Clinic for a day, maybe longer,” the director of Bliss Animal Haven said. “Dr. wise may want to do one more surgery. All they could do was find the bullet. His jaw has been shattered and several bones in his face have been broken. He may go in again tomorrow for more surgery depending on what the University of Georgia Veterinary Hospital has to say. We will get him to UGA for consultation to see what the next step is for Toby.”
She said at the moment Toby is breathing through the bullet hole in his nose and he will likely need reconstructive surgery. A GoFundMe Account has been set up to help raise money for Toby’s rehabilitation. But staff at Bliss Animal Haven also want to make sure that whoever was responsible for shooting Toby and then leaving him to die a slow, painful death are found and punished. Brooks said the WCSO did do a follow up investigation on Monday morning.
According to the report, the complainant said there was a neighbor who had threatened to shoot the dog, but she did not remember the neighbor’s name and she said he has since moved out of the neighborhood. The complainant said they themselves did not have a gun in the home. With regard to the dog’s emanciated condition, she told deputies that she would feed the dog twice a day, but of late he has not been eating his food. She said she still has a full bag of dog food.
“At this time we do not have any suspects,” Brooks said. “If anyone has any information that will help with this investigation we would like to hear from them. It is kudos to the deputies who knew to contact Deputy Zajac and his wife.”
Melanie Zajac said people can contribute to the GoFundme Account. She said deputies from WCSO who were involved in Toby’s recovery were also going to be doing something to try and help raise funds for his rehabilitation.
UPDATE: A new fundraiser is being set up for Toby as it has now been learned he will need multiple surgeries to repair the extensive damage done to his face/mouth/jaw. He has already had two surgeries on Monday so costs will be high and ongoing. The new account is at this link. Or people can continue to donate directly to Monroe Animal Care Hospital or via PayPal Donate on Bliss Animal Haven website at www.blissanimalhaven.org.