Vet: Dog likely chewed off leg to escape chain; owner arrested

New York News

EXETER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — An Otsego County man is facing charges after his dog was found with a missing limb.

Carl Pritchard, 59, was charged with Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals; Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance; and Failure to Provide Appropriate Shelter for Dogs Left Outdoors.

The UPS driver is being hailed a hero for reporting the horrific case of animal cruelty.

Mark McGee had been delivering to the home on County Route 22 for months. He said the dog was always chained up outside without food or water.

Last Tuesday, he said as he was approaching the home something stopped him in his tracks. “I did a double take. I’m like you’ve got to be kidding me. I knock on the door, nobody answered,” said McGee

“Zoe”, the german shepard, who he’s familiar with from previous deliveries was missing her left leg. “It looked like to me like it was shot off,” said McGee.

He immediately called it in to the the Susquehanna SPCA Animal Cruelty Task Force.

He said where she was chained up, she was not visible from the road, so he said had he not had a delivery there, he fears what Zoe’s fate would have been.

Executive Director of the Susquehanna SPCA said she likely would have suffered a very painful death. She said they rushed her to Heritage Veterinary Hospital. “That’s where we found the x-rays showed bones in her stomach and that’s why we can safely assume that she ate her leg,” said Haynes.

Zoe had reportedly been suffering like that for days. Haynes said she also had a number of other conditions that had gone untreated.
McGee had mentioned he noticed over the summer that she had a very swollen shoulder.

Haynes ended up driving Zoe to Cornell’s University’s College of Veterinary Medicine for further care. She said the shoulder was something doctors there took a close look at as well.

“Initially they thought the swelling was cancer and maybe she had bone cancer and that’s why she gnawed her leg off because she was in so much pain,” said Haynes.

Following a CT scan, they determined it was not cancerous, it was a fatty tumor. “It still has to be removed though because it has moved from her shoulder to her chest and is around her arteries,” said Haynes.

It was an incredibly risky procedure with a low chance of survival, especially for a 9-year-old dog with existing ailments.

News10 learned late Wednesday afternoon that Zoe’s surgery was a success! The next 24 hours will be critical, but if all goes well she will be brought back to the Susquehanna SPCA on Saturday. While many have expressed interest in giving Zoe a home, the SPCA will have to make sure they find her the perfect fit.

It’s worth noting that News10 also saw horses and chickens on Pritchard’s property.

Pritchard surrendered the dog because he could not pay the vet bills, police said. He is due to appear in the Town of Exeter Court on December 4.

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