Two emaciated dog cases believed to be related

This emaciated pit bull mix was found with a 7-foot-long chain embedded in his neck late Monday afternoon on Chisolm Road on Johns Island. His neck wounds, as evidenced by photographs taken by veterinarians, were too graphic to show.

An emaciated dog found Monday on Johns Island with a chain deeply embedded into his neck is now recovering at Pet Helpers, which is putting out a $2,500 reward for information leading to animal cruelty charges.

“We need to find out who did this,” said Carol Linville, founder and president of Pet Helpers. “We take this situation very seriously, and we will press charges and prosecute to get the maximum penalty for animal cruelty.”

The Charleston Animal Society sent out a media release Thursday saying it also is caring for a dog that was found emaciated with a chain embedded in his neck.

Charleston County sheriff’s deputies brought the dog, an “adult” Staffordshire terrier now known as Roo, to the shelter Sunday morning after a resident found him Saturday night dumped on the side of Davidson Road, near Savannah Highway — about four miles from where the dog at Pet Helpers was found.

“The similarity and proximity of these two cases is alarming,” said Aldwin Roman, animal cruelty and outreach director at Charleston Animal Society. “Not only was Roo suffering from an embedded chain, he was also starving exactly like the dog found on Chisolm Road. I believe these two cases may be related and the person or persons responsible should be held accountable.”

On Monday afternoon, Elisa Allan of Johns Island was driving home on Chisolm Road when she saw the pit bull mix dog, estimated to be about 2 years old, sitting in the middle of the road. Allan stopped, opened a door and the dog, with about seven feet of chain attached to his neck, put his front paws up. Allan had to lift his back end in.

Allan says she has rescued numerous dogs over the years, including three of the four she now owns, but that “none were in this bad (of shape).”

“His flesh was rotting and stinky,” says Allan, adding that she suspects he was abandoned and without food for a long time.

Allan called Johns Island Animal Hospital and took the dog to the clinic, where veterinarian Dr. Mary Wall and her staff used bolt cutters to free the chain from “the mess of deep infection, skin and granulation tissue that had imbedded it.”

“About 270 degrees of his neck was deeply impinged by the chain,” Wall said by email.

“He has been nothing but a trooper about the entire ordeal and to have food, flea treatment, indoor housing, fresh water, bedding and love, he is doing well.”

Amy Coleman, a veterinary technician at the animal hospital, confirmed the severity of the wounds and his demeanor.

“He was very resilient. He didn’t have a lot of energy but was very friendly and sweet.”

Wednesday morning, Pet Helpers picked up the dog and named it “Allan” for the woman who saved him and paid for his surgery. Staff, all of whom contributed toward the reward, also contacted law enforcement officials about the case.

Dr. John Price, chief veterinarian for Pet Helpers, said the dog will have to continue treatment, including one or more surgeries.

The medical costs to care for the dog will start at $1,000. Those expenses will be covered by “Dixie’s Medical Fund,” for emergencies. The earliest the dog will be available for adoption will be a month.

Meanwhile, the dog’s story underscores Pet Helpers’ efforts to educate people about the perils of tight collars and chaining dogs through its program, “Unchain Charleston,” which started in 2012.

“Unchain Charleston works tirelessly to educate, engage and inspire our community while ensuring we spread awareness about the plight of chained dogs,” said Kim Almstedt, director of development and marketing for Pet Helpers.

Almstedt said Unchain Charleston finances at least one fence-building project per month, providing dog owners an alternative to chaining.

Pet Helpers founder Linville said that upon hearing of Allan’s story, she was horrified at the depth of his neck wounds and emaciated body.

“It is haunting to think what he has suffered even through these cold weeks,” Linville said. “The silver lining of this story — I knew Pet Helpers would welcome Allan into our family and get him the critical medical care, love and socialization he needed.”

Melissa Boughton contributed to this report.