LAND O'LAKES — She's mostly been sleeping and still shakes a lot, but veterinarians say she's pulling through.
Piper, a 4-month-old dachshund, is on the mend after deputies say her owner beat her Sunday with a broom. The puppy has a fractured snout and a 5-centimeter fracture in her head. She was taken to the Pasco County Animal Services shelter when her owner was arrested.
Piper has been interacting with staff at the shelter. She's been eating, too. Because she suffered a head injury, they're keeping a close watch on her for tremors or seizures, said Animal Services director John Malley. Piper looks like she will make a full recovery.
With newspapers and TV stations carrying the story of the wounded puppy, the agency fielded calls all day Tuesday from people checking on Piper's wellbeing or wanting to adopt her. For that to happen, Piper's owner, Jacqueline Jeffries, would have to surrender custody, and she hasn't done so yet. For now, Piper sits at animal services, at least until Thursday, when Jeffries appears in court.
Pasco sheriff's deputies say Jeffries repeatedly beat the puppy with a broom handle. A neighbor says she heard the puppy's squeals and ran over to find the bloodied animal with shards of glass and shells strewn over the floor.
It was all a misunderstanding, Jeffries told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday.
She said she was going to let Piper outside, but the puppy scampered under her feet.
"She's the kind you don't want to trample," Jeffries said.
Trying not to step on the puppy, Jeffries leaned against a bookshelf. A vase fell on Piper. She yelped.
The next thing Jeffries says she knew, her neighbor was on the back patio of her New Port Richey home and snatched the dog. She says she chased the neighbor and "touched her on the arm." The neighbor, Jennifer Bijaczyk, showed deputies scratches on her back.
Jeffries said she couldn't imagine hitting Piper.
She was arrested Sunday night on charges of simple battery, assault and animal cruelty. She spent two nights in Land O'Lakes jail. She was released Tuesday morning on $5,300 bail.