DECATUR COUNTY, GA (WALB) –A four-year old black Labrador Retriever found shot in the face last week is on the road to recovery.
The dog named Hank is the latest victim in a rising trend of animal cruelty cases in Decatur County. But people there are starting to step up and fight back.
When animal control called Humane Society director Beth Eck about Hank, a frail black Labrador Retriever with a severe wound on his face, she had a feeling of Deja-Vu.
"It seems every month we've had some kind of crisis animal-wise," says Eck. "And we don't know if there's just more awareness or in a way it seems like it's always been that way, but this really has been a bad summer."
Animal workers didn't know whether Hank's wound was caused by a rattlesnake bite or a gun shot. But they were sure of one thing: they wanted to save his life.
"Immediately, he wanted to touch me and shake hands, even in his condition. So we just took him right over to our vet."
A veterinarian performed an x-ray which confirmed everyone's worst fears. Hank had been shot. And the bullet was just inches from killing him.
"There's no excuse to shoot a dog. Especially a friendly dog like this," Eck believes. "There was just a lot of damage and the bullet kind of broke up into a lot of pieces."
Hank underwent surgery Friday to have the bullet fragments, along with his damaged saliva gland, removed from his shattered jaw.
Now he's recovering alongside other once-abused dogs at the shelter, like Onni, a pit-bull mix that made a full recovery after a cord used to tether her cut into inches into her throat.
"He's a fantastic dog. We're hoping for a full recovery."
And they're also hoping people in the community will continue to speak up when they see cases of animal cruelty.
"We are trying to the best of our ability to get things done to the people who do these kinds of things," Eck explains.
Which in turn gives a voice to what should be man's best friend.
The Decatur County Humane Society is taking donations to help pay for Hank's expensive surgery and recovery costs.
The bullet fragments removed from Hank's jaw are being sent to the Decatur Co. Sheriff's Office to be used in an investigation to find his abusers.