A quick-thinking teacher may have saved the life of a young poodle mix named Sox, who was found with a rubber band embedded in its jaw and holding its mouth shut.
The poodle-Yorkshire Terrier mix is now recovering at SPCA Tampa Bay and a charge of animal cruelty is pending against the owner, the animal rescue agency said in a news release today.
According to an SPCA investigator, a schoolteacher first contacted the animal rescue agency when two children under the age of 10 reported that their puppy was "dying slowly" in their bathroom at home.
SPCA investigator Jill Purl went out to the home on Dec. 12 and asked the owner to bring out her dog. Purl reported that the dog was covered in feces and had a wound on its muzzle. She found a rubber band encircling the muzzle and cutting into the skin and jaw bone, according to the release.
The owner promised to take the dog to the veterinarian, according to the SPCA. The agency followed up the next day and found that the animal had not received medial care.
The SPCA investigator asked the owner to surrender Sox to SPCA Tampa Bay, which she did. An animal cruelty charge is pending with the Clearwater Police Department, according to the SPCA.
Dr. Rizal Lopez of SPCA Tampa Bay said that the damage on the dog’s muzzle can occur quite quickly and is called pressure necrosis. The infection created a hole at the top of the dog’s muzzle. Consequently, he is breathing through this hole as well as through his nostrils.
A week after being rescued, the poodle is recovering. The infection is clearing up, the fleas are gone and Sox has been groomed of snarls. The puppy will need some more time and care before going up for adoption, according to the agency.
“It’s not clear how well the wound will close up or what nerves have been damaged around Sox’s nose,” said Martha Boden, SPCA CEO. “He will likely need extra care for chronic sinus issues but he’s eating well, and in many ways acts like a typical puppy.”
The SPCA is urging people who suspect animal cruelty or abuse to contac the agency at 727-586-3591, ext. 135.
SPCA Tampa Bay serves Pinellas County. It is located at 9099 130th Avenue North in Largo.
Hours are Tuesday through Friday, from 1-7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m.