An extreme case of animal neglect and cruelty was recently brought to light in Florida. A seriously diseased, neglected dog was found on August 7, 2012 in the Tampa Bay area with severe skin problems, open wounds and possible injuries, and covered in mange. The dog was so weak that it had laid in one spot until its wounds had scabbed over and caused the tortured soul to be stuck to the carpet to the point where it couldn’t get up on its own.. The dog, rescued by Hillsborough County Animal Control officers, is a Golden/Labrador Retriever mix named “Bella” who is only 1 year old. She was rescued and admitted for medical care, and is now being treated at Hillsborough County Animal Services.
According to Sergeant Perry with the animal services, Bella was in terrible pain, and the suspects clearly knew it. The officer was referring to the married couple that has been arrested for the incident. They were charged with felony animal cruelty. By Perry’s estimate, the dog’s agony and suffering did not just happen overnight; she says evidence points to the dog being neglected for about 4 to 6 months. Some concerned citizen gave Animal Services the tip about poor Bella.
The dog was stuck on a piece of carpet almost like she had been glued to it, according to Marti Ryan of Hillsborough Animal Services. The dog was very weak when she was rescued, and required lots of medical care. And as for her golden coat, only a few parts of it remained. The dog’s body weight had dropped to 34.6 pounds, which should be around 50 to 55 pounds for a normal 1-year old Golden Lab mix. The skin of Bella was also scabbed and completely irritated due to the scabs, as well as probable previous neglect and mistreatment.
If you wish, you can see Bella and the TV report at this link. However, be prepared to be sickened and thoroughly disgusted by the sight.
Animal Services rescued Bella from a home in the Valrico community, and additionally confiscated a black and white female cat, to avoid future incidents of animal neglect and maltreatment. Ryan says that they did not want the cat to end up like Bella, suffering the same kind of pain and abuse.
According to what they have found so far, apparently the dog was stuck to the carpet for a long period, while her owners just ate dinner with the dog in view, not minding her, and letting her suffer. Fortunately for Bella, she was also visible from outside the house, which is probably how someone finally noticed and then notified authorities.
Perry described Bella’s skin as constantly itching, swollen and very painful. Even her limbs were swollen. And also according to her, the owners claim they tried various home remedies for the dog, but just gave up. However, the couple was financially stable enough to get veterinary care, as evidenced by the fact they had just bought a new motorcycle. Looks like Bella wasn’t important in their scheme of things.
Fortunately, with the help of Hillsborough Animal Services, Bella’s fate has changed, and she is receiving the necessary help and medical care.
And as for Bella and the cat, Animal Services are now waiting for foster homes for them, and in the future, hopefully, they can finally get permanent owners, to be loved, nourished, and not be mistreated like worthless beings.
Ryan says that we should all be sensitive to situations where pets may be suffering neglect and similar fates as Bella, since animals are unlike us and cannot simply call for help.
The couple could be sentenced with up to 5 years of imprisonment if they are convicted of the offense. Sounds to me like this is insufficient — the laws need to be a lot stronger with longer prison terms for this kind of neglect. The way courts are nowadays, they’ll probably get 30 days suspended sentence, and a few token hours of public service, if that.
Anybody want to make some more guesses as to how little time, if any, this couple ends up serving, assuming they are even found guilty? Share your thoughts below.