Deadwood dog recovers from multiple gunshot woundsDEADWOOD — Dusty the dog is living proof that the spirit sometimes soars over circumstances.
By: JACI CONRAD PEARSON, The Black Hills Pioneer
DEADWOOD — Dusty the dog is living proof that the spirit sometimes soars over circumstances.
Outside the Twin City Animal Shelter, a friendly, tail-wagging chocolate lab comes to the fence, begging for affection. As she turns her head, a twinge of shock ensues — her neck, chest and both ears are covered in recent, still-open wounds. Gunshot wounds.
On Sunday night Heath and Dusty Pinske and their family were four-wheeling in a remote area off Camp Five Road when suddenly their son Carson said, “Hey, there’s a dog!”
A closer look revealed a wet chocolate lab lying listless in the grass and barely moving. As they tried to help, they discovered several wounds on the animal, which was covered in dried blood and still bleeding. They gathered the dog up, took her to town, called the Twin City Animal Shelter and after contacting Dr. Ken Ireland of Northern Hills Veterinary Clinic, decided that because the dog was not bleeding profusely at that time and that her injuries at that point did not appear to be life threatening, they would take her to the vet in the morning.
“I wasn’t sure if they were gunshot wounds or not,” Ireland said. “Most of the time, you just have one hole. This dog came in with multiple holes all over its body. I thought it had been attacked by an animal. To rule that out, we did x-rays and you can actually see metal. We found multiple sites of metal of different sizes. It appeared the dog had been shot more than once.
“She was pretty miserable when they brought her in,” Ireland added. “A pellet type wound, maybe buckshot is in her liver area, a bigger pellet from perhaps a pellet gun created a big wound on her chest. It entered the dog’s thorax on the left side and the bullet stayed in there. There appears to be one entry and one exit wound in one other area and three to four metal fragments in the neck.”
Practically anywhere a person would normally put their hands to pet a dog or show them affection is now shaved, revealing wounds.
Ireland is still not certain if the holes in Dusty’s ears are gunshot wounds or the result of an animal attack, since there is no metal.
Whether Dusty the dog was dumped and shot, abused by an owner or shot at by a property owner, her story is still speculative.
Joe Harmon, chief deputy with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, said in a case like this there are many unknown circumstances surrounding the incident.
“There are such a variety of circumstances, so many variables we don’t know regarding whether or not a crime was committed,” Harmon said. “The law says that if you have livestock and a dog is attacking or worrying that livestock, then you can put the animal down.”
Harmon said that while there are animal cruelty laws against abusing animals, again, in this case, it would depend on what the circumstances and variables are.
Shari Kosel, a volunteer for South Dakota Task Force for Felony Animal Cruelty Laws, a group trying to change that statistic, the law said that she and the nine other members of her independent statewide group tried to introduce legislation during the recent session.
“We couldn’t get a single representative to sponsor a bill, mainly because of the pork and ag producers,” Kosel said. “North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi and Idaho were the four states with no felony provisions for cruelty to animals as of 2011. Now it is only North Dakota and South Dakota. Our wording was too broad. This year, we’re going to try again and narrow it to companion animals. We’re looking for a sponsor.”
Working in the capacity she does, Dusty’s plight isn’t the first Kosel has heard of.
“Sadly, it’s very common, especially West River,” Kosel said.
Darci Adams, Humane Society of the United States, South Dakota Director, said that North Dakota has enough signatures to get felony animal cruelty legislation on the ballot this fall.
Tuesday, Dusty the dog was recovering nicely at the Twin City Animal Shelter. Pray said that she had made much progress since her arrival Monday.
“We thought for sure she’d be emotionally damaged, along with the physical damage,” Pray said. “But her walking, her attitude are both improving. She’s not afraid of humans. She is very sweet, old and overweight and had a very faded collar on. ... She is a good patient, takes her strong antibiotics and her pain meds like a champ.”
Pray said that chances of an owner coming forward to claim the dog are pretty slim at this point.
Pray said that she and her husband Ron went knocking on doors Monday night in the area where Dusty the dog was found to see if an owner might be missing her.
“We have high hopes of finding an owner and if not someone who would adopt,” Pray said. “We would love it if the owner came forth, but given this set of circumstances, thats not very likely.”
Pray pointed out that because Dusty has no ID tag, finding her owner is a mystery and encouraged all pet owners to put some form of identification on their dogs.
Pray said that the shelter will foot the bill for Dusty’s recovery.
“It’s a shelter expense, but we’d gladly spend that because she is certainly worthy of the $300-plus bill that we’ve incurred so far.
“Who does this to a dog?” Pray asked. “An old, sweet one, at that?”