There is animal cruelty, and then there is extreme animal cruelty.
A case discovered Wednesday afternoon in north Lansing is the extreme kind, said Julia Palmer, chief executive officer of the Capital Area Humane Society.
It's the kind of senseless, brutal cruelty that can make you sick to your stomach - the kind that makes you gasp at the prospect of such malevolence on the loose in your city.
A 2-year-old female pit bull mix had been hogtied and left to freeze to death in a wooded lot near North Cedar Street. Its four legs had been bound together with heavy-duty electrical tape. The dog's muzzle was also taped shut.
"When the people found her, she was frozen to the ground," Palmer said. "It's hard to imagine who would do this."
Positive SignsThe 50-pound dog also had severe head injuries - the result of blunt force beatings.
The Humane Society staff feared Wednesday that the dog might have to be put down. But on Thursday it showed no signs of neurological damage or skull fractures, and Palmer was more optimistic about its chance for a recovery.
Meanwhile, officials are following tips they hope will lead to the perpetrator of the cruelty. A $500 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
"We plan to pursue this to the full extent of the law," Palmer said.
The dog, known for the moment as Tatiana, remains at the Humane Society facility, on West Grand River Avenue. The staff's efforts Wednesday went toward relieving the dog's trauma. On Thursday, the focus shifted.
"Our goal now is to find out who's responsible for this," Palmer said.
A 'Pathetic' SightErnie Moss is the man who found the tortured dog. He was walking his two boxers past a wooded lot on North Cedar Street, between Community and Paulson streets.
"It was pathetic," Moss said. "I don't understand how a human being could do that to a living thing and sleep at night."
Moss said that as he and his two dogs approached the wooded lot, one of the boxers pulled him down an incline, into the trees. That's where he found the whimpering pit bull.
At first Moss struggled to remove the tape, but ultimately pried the dog from the ground and carried it up to the street.
A neighbor called Ingham County Animal Control, then the Humane Society.
Palmer said there was concern about excessive swelling in the dog's head, but that it was exhibiting normal motor skills Thursday.
The person who left the dog for dead could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the prosecutor.
Moss believes that if the prosecutor saw what he saw, the act would be deemed a felony.
"I hope they catch him; I really do," Moss said. "This was a sad situation."
Update January 22, 2011 12:35pm - The following article is from WFRV:
Investigators have good leads in dog-abuse case
Animal control officers investigating the beating of a dog found hog-tied and left for dead in a frozen lot in Lansing say they have some promising leads in the animal-cruelty case.
Ingham County Animal Control Director Jamie McAloon Lampman tells the Lansing State Journal the agency is now hopeful about solving the case.
Capital Area Humane Society official Julia Palmer said the female pit bull mix found with severe head injuries and her four legs bound together with heavy-duty electrical tape continues to improve. But she said the 50-pound female faces a long recovery.
An unemployed man found the injured dog Wednesday while walking his own dog. But Ernie Moss isn't jobless any more. He's been hired part-time by the owner of a home-remodeling company who read about the case.
Update January 24, 2011 12:41pm - The following article is from WILX:
Update On Abused Dog Case
Investigators also seek tips on dog that died on Friday
Ingham County Animal Control has identified a person on interest in the case of the dog who was found hog-tied and left for dead in Lansing last week.
The Capital Area Humane Society says the dog, Tatiana, spent a relaxing weekend in foster care with a staff member, and is now "acting like a normal dog," running around and chewing bones.
She was found last week, with her legs and mouth bound in electrical tape in a wooded area near Old Town. Her head was swollen from being beaten: that swelling has greatly decreased.
Tatiana will remain in foster care for some time, likely until after the investigation wraps up.
Several donations have poured into the Capital Area Humane Society. According to its website, people as far as Virginia, California, even Puerto Rico, have made contributions in Tatiana's name, totaling more than $5,000 as of Monday morning. People have also donated blankets, beds, toys and other items for Tatiana as she recovers.
If you'd like to make a contribution, contact the Capital Area Humane Society at 517-626-6060 or log onto www.cahs-lansing.org.
Animal Control is also looking for tips in the case of young pit bull that was found beaten and dead near Dwight Rich Middle School on Friday.
A reward of $1,000 is available for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
Tips should be sent to 517- 676- 8376.