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Severe case of dog cruelty discovered in Statesboro
Sonny LEAD
Sonny, a mixed breed male dog, is recovering from surgery to remove a chain embedded in his neck due to neglect. Bulloch County Humane Enforcement Officer Christopher Ivey said the case is the worst he's ever seen, but Sonny is recovering and under care of the Humane Society of Statesboro and Bulloch County. Additional photos of Sonny are available online on the Statesboro Herald web site, but readers are warned that the photos of the dog's wound are graphic and may be disturbing. - photo by HOLLI DEAL BRAGG/staff
It was the day after Thanksgiving when Donna Parker's son Shane came to her about a dog he saw suffering on West Waters Road.
    Sonny, a shepherd-husky mix, is doing fine now after surgery, but when the Parkers found him a few weeks ago, he was in pain. A chain, "larger than a choke collar but not as big as a logging chain," was wrapped so tightly around his neck, it had become embedded, and the flesh was rotting around the wound, said Bulloch County Humane Enforcement Officer Christopher Ivey.
    Shane Parker tried catching the dog, but a truck drove past and scared him, Donna Parker said.
    It was a busy time, since they were moving, but when the dog walked out in front of her truck the next day, Parker stopped and was able to coax the blue-eyed, tan dog to her.
    "He crouched down, but I was able to put my hands on him and told Shane to stop (her husband, Ricky) so we could put him in the trailer we were using to move."
    They placed the dog on an old blanket in a shed, fed him and gave him water, she said. "He acted like he was starving." But after he ate and drank his fill, the dog "put his paw up to the collar like he was saying 'OK, you fed me and watered me, what about this?'"
    Parker called the Statesboro-Bulloch County Humane Society, and they contacted Ivey, who came to retrieve the dog.
    Ivey was appalled at the dog's wound.
    "We've seen a bunch of (cruelty and neglect) cases but that's the worse I've ever seen," he said. "You could see the chain on one side but on the other side it was in so deep you could not even see it."
    The dog had been brought to the shelter before, at a time when it was closed, he said. The man who brought it said he found the dog in that condition and took him to a veterinarian, but could not pay for the treatment. He took the dog to the shelter instead, but while he was knocking on the door, the dog escaped out his truck window, he said.
    A few days later Parker found the dog.
    The wound was quite foul, he said.
    Parker agreed. "It smelled like he was dead," she said. "A rotten smell."
    Ivey said he hopes someone will recognize the dog and help identify who is responsible for its plight.
    "I was mad that somebody would neglect a dog like that," Parker said. "How could they not even realize the chain was too tight. People like that don't deserve an animal."
    But the dog, dubbed "Sonny," came through surgery, performed by Dr. Gary Edwards at Gateway Animal Hospital, with flying colors. Edwards and his wife, Dr. Debbie Edwards, continue treating Sonny for the wound.
    "Thus far, the doctors have performed one operation on Sonny to remove the rusted chain from his neck, and they have started him on antibiotics and pain relievers," said Humane Society volunteer Theresa Welford.  
    She said the chain was so deeply embedded in Sonny’s skin that Edwards had to use bolt cutters to remove the individual links.
    "Dr. Gary also reports that Sonny has an excellent disposition," she said. " Thanks to the expertise and the concern of these two veterinarians and their staff, Sonny is expected to recover. "
    "The Humane Society has custody of the dog ...  and members
 are working to help the dog, raise funds for his care and eventually
 find a new loving home," said Christina Lemon, Humane Society of Statesboro member.
    She said she hopes Sonny's story will help "raise public awareness of
 animal neglect and the collaboration between the many compassionate
 people: citizens who found the dog, the shelter staff, the Humane
 Society and Gateway Animal Hospital, who all work together to help
 animals in Bulloch County."
    Anyone with information about Sonny’s owners is asked to contact  Ivey at the Bulloch County Animal Shelter at 764-4529.  Anyone interested in donating to assist with Sonny’s vet care may forward tax deductible contributions to the Humane Society of Statesboro and Bulloch County (HSSBC), P.O. Box 581, Statesboro, GA 30459. 
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