Advertisement
  1. News

Shot twice and buried alive, dog bonds quickly with her rescuers

Phoebe is shown Wednesday after her recovery from two gunshots to her head and being buried up to her snout in the ground.
Phoebe is shown Wednesday after her recovery from two gunshots to her head and being buried up to her snout in the ground.
Published Nov. 15, 2012

TAMPA — An anonymous caller told deputies that three shots were fired Oct. 29 on Deerfield Drive. In the yard of a vacant home, a patch of white fur and two sad brown eyes stuck out from the freshly turned dirt.

The woefully underweight 2-year-old pit bull mix whimpered as Hillsborough County Animal Services Officer Rene Northrop dug with her hands, trying to unearth the pooch that had been buried alive up to her snout.

Animal Services officials made a public plea Wednesday for help finding those who not only buried the dog, but shot her twice in the head.

"This is sick," said Sgt. Pam Perry, investigations manager at Animal Services. "If they did this to a dog, they'll do it to another dog, a cat, a child or a person."

It took 15 minutes to free the dog, but much longer to assess her injuries. Her head was bloody, her body was too thin, but still she was loving and friendly, immediately bonding with Northrop on the way to the vet, Perry said.

At the emergency vet clinic, investigators discovered the dog — which they named Phoebe — had been shot twice in the head with a small-caliber weapon.

One bullet entered Phoebe's forehead and exited through the back. The other went in under an eye and came out through her neck. No shell casings or bullet fragments were found at the scene, Perry said.

The wounds were only to Phoebe's soft tissue — she suffered no brain damage. Still, it took four days in the emergency clinic to save the malnourished dog. Phoebe weighed only 30 pounds; she should be about 50 pounds. The $1,700 vet bill fell to taxpayers, which Perry called a hidden cost of animal abuse and abandonment.

Perry wasn't sure if Phoebe's caretaker was simply being cruel or sending a message to Animal Services. Investigators rounded up eight dogs from three vacant homes in the Clair-Mel neighborhood east of Tampa in the days before Phoebe's discovery.

"These dogs had dog-fighting wounds. They were hungry and they were inside these vacant homes," Perry said. "They didn't wander in there. Someone put them in there."

Phoebe is the second dog this year to be found at 3221 Deerfield Drive. The first was abandoned and tied to the carport. Perry said the mistreatment of animals is endemic to the neighborhood, but stressed that there are families in the area who also want to see the abuse stopped.

"There are citizens that live in this community who are just trying to survive in what some may call a war zone," she said. On Nov. 9, the Sheriff's Office arrested 25 people during a crime sweep in the neighborhood.

Someone made the call alerting authorities to Phoebe, so Perry holds out hope that the community will help them find and punish the person who hurt the friendly, quiet, curious dog.

"Was the call a message to us? Or was it a cry for help?" she said.

Phoebe will be put up for adoption after she finishes recovering. Anyone with information about this case can contact Animal Services at (813) 744-5660.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Commissioner Pat Kemp so far is unopposed for re-election to her countywide seat in 2020. Commissioner Sandra Murman, term-limited in her district seat, is considering running against her. [Courtesy of Pat Kemp]
    The move appears to be in part a reaction to what some view as anti-growth leanings by the new Democratic majority on the Hillsborough County Commission.
  2. No sign of graves was found during a survey using ground-penetrating radar at the Tax Collector's office on E Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa. The survey was conducted based on a tip by a cemetery researcher. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    A tip from the man who pointed to the cemetery beneath King High School didn’t pan out this time.
  3. A sign once stood on the corner of 7th Avenue S and 22nd Street S in Commerce Park promising jobs there by mid-2018. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
    The proposal to build warehouses on Commerce Park along 22nd Avenue S fell apart. Now the city wants the African American museum there.
  4. Robert Matthews Beall III, who goes by Matt Beall, is Beall's, Inc.'s new CEO. His great grandfather founded the company in 1915. [Beall's]
    Beall takes over leadership from the chain’s first non-family CEO.
  5. Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan speaks at a news conference Tuesday about a revamped mental health crisis training program for officers and 911 dispatchers. “There is, in my opinion, a crisis going in our society and my concern is not enough people are concerned about it," Dugan said. [TONY MARRERO  |  Tony Marrero]
    All officers will receive 40 hours of training that includes sessions with experts and family members who can provide a personal perspective.
  6. Police officers arrive at the scene following reports of gunfire, Tuesday, in Jersey City, N.J.  AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez) [EDUARDO MUNOZ  |  AP]
    Sporadic, heavy gunfire rang out over the course of at least an hour along a major thoroughfare.
  7. A Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy responding to a March 26 report of domestic violence at the Jasmine Terrace apartments on Skipper Road shot and wounded an unarmed 17-year-old. The deputy thought the teen was armed at the time. The teen was left paralyzed, and the deputy was cleared by the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office and now the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office investigation was the last inquiry into Deputy Daniel Estanislau’s actions in the March 26 shooting.
  8. The Legendary Sirens will perform Dec. 14 and 15 at Weeki Wachee State Park. The nostalgic show features performances by Weeki Wachee Mermaids from the 1940s to the '70s. [Handout]
    Things to do in Pasco and Hernando counties
  9. An artist's rendering of the planned Encompass Health Corp.'s regional office in the Bexley by Newland Communities in Land O' Lakes. [Pasco Economic Development Council]
    The company receives a $983,000 incentive package for the relocation
  10. In this Sept. 24, 2018 file photo Bill Cosby arrives for his sentencing hearing at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa. A Pennsylvania appeals court has rejected Cosby’s bid to overturn his sexual assault conviction. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File) [MATT SLOCUM  |  AP]
    Cosby, 82, can now ask the state Supreme Court to consider his appeal.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement