Friday, April 08, 2011
Canine Survivor $5,000 Reward Offered for Details
By Mark Oswald
Of the Journal
Officials at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter are hoping there's a "magic number" — as in number of dollars — that will persuade someone to say what happened to Zavaria, a mixed-breed dog shot and maimed with both a hunting arrow and a gun.
What had been a $1,000 reward posted after Zavaria was brought to a shelter clinic Monday has been upped to $5,000, thanks to shelter donors.
"We don't know what the magic number is to get somebody to come forward, but we're hoping there is one," said shelter executive director Mary Martin.
"This is really scary," she said.
Zavaria escaped from her owner's yard last week, and when he found her Sunday, she had wounds in her head and a rear leg. The owner brought the dog to the shelter's off-site clinic near the Outback Steakhouse in south Santa Fe on Monday.
Clinic personnel couldn't communicate well with the Spanish-speaking owner, who lives along Lucy Road near the National Guard headquarters off Interstate 25 south of town. The staff and veterinarian Carolyn Fletcher initially thought the dog — a mixed breed about a year old — might have gotten ripped up by barbed wire while digging under a fence.
Once Zavaria was put under anesthetic, Fletcher found something much more disturbing — the dog had been shot right between the eyes with a hunting arrow.
The projectile went into her palate instead of the brain, and various pieces of the three-bladed arrowhead had to be extracted. The shaft was broken off, either by the shooter or by Zavaria, but one blade may still be in the dog's head.
Martin said it appears Zavaria has shot point-blank with the arrow, the kind used to bring down game. She said she's talked to several hunters and vets and all agree that a shot from a distance would have done even more damage, since the arrows are designed to pick up speed as they rotate through the air.
The dog was eventually taken to the shelter off N.M. 599 for an X-ray, which confirmed that the leg injury was caused by a bullet or pellet.
"The bone was in a million pieces," Martin said. The leg was amputated Wednesday.
Zavaria "had a rough day" after the amputation but should be in pretty good shape after she recovers, Martin said. Dogs carry more of their weight on their front legs, she said.
Martin said the dog's owner, who previously had Zavaria spayed at the shelter, isn't suspected of the abuse. "The dog is extremely friendly," she added.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Robert Garcia said Thursday: "Right now, we haven't been able to pinpoint who caused the injuries."
Garcia said detectives are assisting county Animal Control on the case. He said the arrowhead was sent to the state crime lab in hopes of getting DNA back on whoever may have hurt the dog. But the sheriff acknowledged that might be tough because the blade penetrated through the dog's skin and snout.
Garcia is encouraging anyone with information about the incident to call dispatch at 428-3720. Reports can also be made to the Animal Shelter at 983-4309, ext. 139.
"We'll follow up on any lead that comes in," Garcia said. "It's cruel, very cruel what happened. It's amazing that dog survived."
Martin said this is the kind of animal abuse case that needs to be solved.
"We're serious about this reward," she said. "It seems to me this is something that is really dangerous."