A dog found shot in the head and face with a pellet gun, stuffed in a garbage bag and left to die is recovering from his injuries at an animal clinic in Texas. And it's thanks, in part, to a Facebook campaign launched to help pay for his veterinary bills.
The bag containing the 3-year-old male mixed breed was discovered tied to a fence in Conroe, Texas, earlier this month. When local residents opened the bag, the dog emerged, took a few steps and collapsed, according to the Montgomery County Police Reporter.
The dog was covered in blood, said neighbor Tami Augustyn, leading her to believe he was a "bait dog"—or a dog used by fight dogs for practice.
Augustyn rushed the dog to an emergency animal clinic, where he was treated for multiple bird-shot pellets to the face, eyes, mouth, neck and shoulders, and hypothermia from being left outside overnight.
The pooch was stabilized, but according to Dr. Ron Hendrick, a vet at the Animal Emergency Clinic of Conroe, pellets remain in both eyes and it's unclear whether the dog—nicknamed Buck—was left permanently blind.
A Facebook page, Buck Needs Bucks for his Buckshot Injuries, launched last week by Augustyn to help pay for the dog's estimated $5,000 in medical bills, has attracted nearly 7,000 "likes" and, according to its creator, already more than enough donations to pay for his treatment.
"The last 24 hours has been overwhelming for me," Augustyn wrote on the page. "I have gone from not knowing if I would have enough money to pay for Buck’s emergency bill to having an unbelievable amount of money to provide THE BEST care possible for Buck’s recovery. I have thought long and hard about this today and how I should handle this. The conclusion is that I will be opening a separate bank account for Buck and all donations will channel thru that account and be used for Buck’s recovery and necessities."
With the help of Facebook, Buck's story quickly sparked international interest. ("The dog who wouldn't die," the U.K.'s Daily Mail proclaimed.)
Buck is now walking, Augustyn says, and an appointment with an opthamologist scheduled for Wednesday will determine what can be done about his vision.
Police in Montgomery County say they are investigating the incident, and Augustyn says she has been in contact with law enforcement officials about donating a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible.
Sadly, cases like Buck's are not uncommon, particularly in Texas.
In July, a small dog was discovered tortured in what the Dallas Morning News described as "one of the worst cases of animal cruelty ever reported in the county."
The pug mix—nicknamed Hope by her rescuers—was found near Weatherford, Texas, dehydrated, with her mouth sealed shut with electrical tape, tongue protruding and five large cuts that took more than 100 stitches to close. Hope was later adopted by the family on whose ranch she was first spotted wandering.
And Hendrick told the paper he sees animals "wounded as badly as Buck about once a month."