(Madera Tribune/DJ Becker) A call from a good Samaritan prompted City of Madera animal control officers to rescue and seize an injured, young dog from horrific conditions of neglect in the 300 block of Harding Street.
Authorities said the dog, a year and a half old poodle mix was found Monday with a rope deeply embedded in his neck - filthy, emaciated and tied to a post in the backyard of the house.
The dog would have continued to suffer and would have likely died an awful death, had the witness not stepped forward and reported the incident of neglect, they said.
Police are investigating the incident as one of felony animal cruelty.
According to animal control officers, a plastic rope had been tied as a collar around the dogs neck some months earlier and it had been not adjusted or removed - just allowed to embed, slowly and deeply cutting into the dogs flesh.
City of Madera animal control officer Chelsea Ruble, who found the dog, said the hard plastic rope had likely been placed around the dogs neck when he was a puppy.
"The dog was found tangled on a chain about a foot and a half long. The wound from the collar was around his entire neck. He was found among trash and had no shelter, no food. He had muddy water, but he couldn't reach it. His hair was matted, and filthy with urine and feces. I don't know how the dog survived (with no shelter) outside in these temperatures," Ruble said.
Ruble said the dog also had a fever from the infection and was also dehydrated.
It took several police officers to rescue and remove the injured animal because it was in such distress and pain from it's wounds. The dog is also fearful of further touch and suffering from the psychological trauma of such long term neglect and abuse, Ruble said.
"We didn't know all what was wrong with him, he was in such pain. We had to cover him and hold him so the chain wouldn't pull on him. He was thrashing around and crying out in pain. He was taken to the Madera Veterinary Center where they sedated and shaved him, and treated his injuries," she said.
"It appeared they put this plastic rope on him when he was a puppy and never took it off. They had placed a different collar on his neck at some point, but the chain was attached to the one embedded in his neck. The rope was just sawing at his neck. It took months ... of suffering ... and neglect .. for the dog to get in this condition. They were feeding the dog, so they had to be aware of his condition," Ruble said.
"This is (a case of animal) torture. Having to face these conditions over an extended period of time. They put a second collar on the dog, but attached the chain to collar that was tearing into the dogs neck. That is torture, to me. It would have been (a slow) death from infection or decapitation for the dog, eventually," said Ruble.
The penalty for conviction of intentional animal cruelty is up to 5 years imprisonment, a $20,000 fine, or both, Ruble said.
The volunteer group, the Friends of Madera Animal Shelter is accepting donations for the care of Clover. Clover will be placed in a foster home to recover from his wounds, and may be able to be adopted at some point, according to shelter directory Kirsten Gross.
Gross encouraged residents to report incidents of suspected animal neglect or cruelty promptly to authorities.
Donations for Clover and other injured and homeless animals can be dropped off at the Madera Police Department or mailed to:
The Friends of the Madera Animal Shelter
P.O. Box 923
Madera, CA 93638