The Fayetteville Animal Hospital is currently caring for Jade, a rottweiler that was found badly burned and tied to a pole near Shannon Mall in Union City. The cause of the second-degree burns covering her body is unknown, but the truly mysterious fact is that Jade is one of two rottweilers to be brought in with similar burns in just a couple weeks. She is the fourth badly burned dog the Fayetteville Animal Hospital has seen in six months, all of those animals coming from Fulton or Clayton County.
Who is responsible, if anyone, for this trend is still a matter of investigation. Erin Meurer, a technician at Fayetteville Animal Hospital, has been talking to the media for days about the troubling trend, hoping to make the matter public and hopefully return some information.
Second Chance Rescue, an organization based in New York, stepped in to rescue Jade and help foot the bills for her surgery and care. They are offering a $1,000 reward for “information leading to the arrest and conviction of the monster or monsters responsible for this discpicable act!” according to the organization’s Facebook page.
“It’s a hard thing to think about because it’s not a hard jump from dogs to people,” said Meurer.
While she couldn’t say for sure, Meurer said the burns that had been seen on Jade and Tiberious (who was released to foster care just about two weeks ago) and the other two dogs had the appearance of something extremely hot, like oil, having been poured onto their backs.
“You dont reallly want to think of someone pouring something on them,” Meurer said. “It is possible, however. Last year we saw a German Shepard named Alice who was burned down the back of her neck and her side and down her back legs and you can tell something was poured down her. I ended up shaving that whole dog.”
She said that she especially bonded with the other rottweiler named Tiberious, which she described as “the worst case,” of the four in terms of severity. He was found on Sep. 6 along Interstate 675 in Clayton County.
Meurer said she got a call that night from Clayton County animal control. Two other veterinarians had recommended euthanizing him. Dr. Sherri Ray, owner of the animal hospital, believed that she could save the dog, however. After a successful surgery and weeks of recovery, Tiberious was alive and relatively healthy, and went off to live with a foster family about 12 days ago.
The other heart wrenching case was a 12-week-old puppy named Cubby.
“He was the happiest puppy I’ve ever seen in my life,” Meurer said. “It’s sad, it is really sad.”
The happy note, however, is that all four dogs lived. The worrisome question is who may be responsible, and can more of this be expected.
Fulton County Animal Cruelty Investigator Paul Ebbs said he wasn’t even aware of the multiple, similar cases until it hit the news Monday. He said the investigation is, at this point, just starting.
“We are investigating it. There’s a trail, but I’m not sure it goes anywhere,” Ebbs said Tuesday. “If it’s in several counties that could be problematic, but it’s just another obstacle.”
Jade could be uniquely helpful in tracking down some answers, however, because she has an implanted chip with owner information. She is “fat,” Meurer jokes, suggesting she was well fed and taken care of, not wandering the streets. Ebbs said that the chip indicates Jade is around nine years old. While it includes the name of the original adopter, he said there was no guarantee that person still owned the dog.
Meurer said Tuesday she had received various tips from people claiming to know who the dog’s owner was, and said she hoped they led to tangible results.
The severity of the injury would likely lead to a felony charge if a suspect could be identified, according to Ebbs.
“There’s much more about this case that I don’t know than I do know. We’re gonna trail it out as far as we can,” Ebbs said.
All four cases came from outside Fayette County. Meurer said dogs needing shelter out of Fulton and Clayton were “unfortunately becoming more common” because the resources in those counties are not sufficient to handle the number of dogs. She said cruelty cases of this severity don’t often happen in Fayette County.
As for Jade’s outlook, Meurer said it is pretty good. She had surgery Monday to remove dead skin and will need a few more weeks to mend at the Fayetteville Animal Hospital.
“Dogs are amazing. They can regroup. She’ll be alright,” Meurer said. “She’ll go through New York and get adopted. She’ll have some scars, but you won’t know anything else has happened to her. She may end up wary of stangers, but she won’t miss a beat.”
That’s a hopeful note in what is a sickening and worrying circumstance.