ST. PETERSBURG — The reward for information about who wrapped rubber bands around a 3-month-old dog's ears, causing them to fall off, is now at $3,200, and investigators hope the bounty will entice someone with knowledge of the case to come forward.
Nikki, the boxer-pit bull mix, was found by St. Petersburg police Jan. 6 in a backyard in the 1200 block of Fifth Street S. The dog's drooping ears were surgically removed by veterinarians.
SPCA Tampa Bay said finding a dog with its ears cropped in such a manner is often a tell-tale sign of prepping a canine for illegal dog fighting.
"This is animal cruelty in one of the worst ways, and someone needs to be held accountable for their actions," said SPCA Tampa Bay Lead Investigator Jill Purl.
The Humane Society of the United States is offering $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction, in addition to $500 from SPCA Tampa Bay and $200 from neighborhood residents.
An officer found the dog after police received a call from a concerned resident in the 600 block of 13th Avenue S. The caller was worried about a brown boxer-pit bull mix that appeared to have an ear infection. An investigation led police to the house on Fifth Street S, but residents there said they had just acquired the dog and did not know how it got its injuries.
Nikki is recovering and will eventually be placed for adoption.
Anyone with information about the case can contact the SPCA's animal cruelty investigators at (727) 586-3591, ext. 135. Callers can remain anonymous.