JOHNS ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the Charleston Animal Society say investigators are looking to see if two emaciated dogs found with embedded collars in the Johns Island area are connected.
CSA officials say they received the first dog from the Charleston County Sheriff's Office on Sunday. The dog appeared to have been dumped on the side of the rood in the area of Davidson Road, near Savannah Highway on Saturday evening. A Good Samaritan called the police department to help.
Staff and volunteers are calling the dog Roo and say despite his ordeal, Roo is genuinely sweet and very affectionate. Shelter staff cleaned and bandaged his wounds and he is resting comfortably.
A dog with similar injuries was found on Chisolm Road and is being cared for by a local rescue.
The dogs were found less than four miles apart.
"The similarity and proximity of these two cases is alarming. Not only was Roo suffering from an embedded chain he was also starving exactly like the dog found on Chisolm Rd., “I believe these two cases may be related and the person or persons responsible should be held accountable.” said Charleston Animal Society Animal Cruelty & Outreach Director Aldwin Roman.
The rescue group Pet Helpers agreed to take custody of the second dog, a pit bull mix estimated to be about two years old, and have named him Allan after the good Samaritan who found him.
"I was horrified at the incredible depth of his neck wounds and emaciated body. It is haunting to think what he has suffered through these recent cold weeks," Carol Linville, founder and president of Pet Helpers said in a statement. "We not only want to find out, we need to find out who did this."
Allan is expected to undergo at least three surgeries to clean, debride and suture the wounds, Pet Helpers Chief Veterinarian Dr. John Price said. Allan is receiving antibiotics and pain medication and will be given vaccines and deworming medicine.
According to an incident report, a witness spotted the dog in the middle of Chisholm Road on Johns Island Wednesday afternoon at approximately 4:25 p.m. The dog appeared to be dragging a light-weight chain described as being the size used in a child's swing set, the report states.
The witness told deputies she stopped her car and opened her door and the dog immediately jumped in. The witness took it to her vet, who removed the chain which had become "deeply embedded" into the dog's neck and cleaned the infected area, the report states.
Pet Helpers was contacted and agreed to help. The cost of Allan's medical care, starting at a minimum of $1,000, will be determined from the success of his next surgery, the group says.
"We take this situation very seriously, and we will press charges and prosecute to get the maximum penalty for animal cruelty," Linville said in a statement.
Pet Helpers initially planned to offer a reward of $1,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the owner responsible, but the reward has increased to $2,500 after each staff member personally donated to the reward fund, according to spokesperson Kim Almstedt.
The group estimates it will be at least a month before Allan will be ready for adoption.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers at (843) 554-1111.