A 10-month-old Weimaraner puppy named Pollo was rushed to a vet after being brutally beaten with a baseball bat. The puppy has suffered a broken pelvis, teeth and bones in tail, a fractured jaw, damage to eye socket and eyeball as well as severe bleeding from her mouth. Pollo could not be sedated upon arrival to the vet because they were not sure if she had suffered brain injury; this delayed the team’s ability to check for internal injuries.
The beating occurred on November 10th in Winter Haven, FL. The owner of the dog said she had been beaten with a bat but did not want to involve law enforcement. Initially it seemed as if the owner was suggesting the beating was at the hands of a neighbor, but a language barrier made it difficult to understand what really happened. The story has changed several times and the owner appears to be afraid of repercussions from his neighbor. Pollo’s owner has not been charged with any crime and police are still investigating this horrible act.
Due to the extensive injuries the puppy received, a 24-hour emergency vet had to be called on to assist. Lifeline Dog Rescue, out of Orlando, answered the call and rushed to see how they could help. The owners, Chris and Denise Ridgeon, are primarily associated with Weimaraners but also have other canines at their facility. This, however, was an extreme case and more financially taxing than the rescue center could handle; they needed to reach out to the public for donations.
Long-time Lifeline volunteer, Jennifer Feit, immediately reached out to the local media and started the ball rolling. People from all over responded after hearing the story and seeing the pictures of the Weimaraner pup. Feit was horrified at Pollo’s condition and believe without prayers and emergency help she would not make it through the night.
Feit is a serious dog lover who has four canines of her own. She is what rescue facilities consider a “failed foster” because whenever she fosters animals she can never give them up. The rescue volunteer said it breaks her heart to see animals treated so badly and said, “This happens when innocent animals have to bear the brunt of angry people who should not be allowed to walk the streets.” The best thing Feit knew to do was get the word out to as many animal lovers and rescues that she could, including Weimie AKC rescue groups.
Lifeline was amazed at the amount of responses they quickly received. Feit asked for donations and sent graphic photos of Pollo’s injuries, soon after donations from around the world began pouring in. Within one hour offers to foster and adopt, veterinarians to consult and requests for updates were received. The president of Noah’s Ark Rescue offered to rescue the puppy. This group is based in South Carolina and are known for taking the most severely abused animal cases and making them whole again.
The rescue facility was overloaded with offers to help. In addition to offers of assistance there were also many angry emails. Dog lovers all across the globe were horrified at the abuse Pollo suffered. Pet lovers in Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden and Canada joined the United States with support for the injured pup.
Weimie lovers are holding raffles, making and selling t-shirts to help defray the puppy’s medical costs. Thousands of people have “liked” the Facebook page and the hashtag #Pollostrong is trending heavily on Twitter. Progress reports of Pollo’s recovery can be found on the Lifeline Dog Rescue’s Facebook page.
Pollo’s medical prognosis is excellent. She had her first operation on November 14th and on the 15th had another round of surgery. By November 16th the pup was removed from her IV drip and is progressing with just pain pills. She recently took a short walk outside in the grass for the first time since her terrible beating.
Anyone wanting to help can donate directly to Lifeline Dog Rescue or the vet’s office. These donations can be made online or sent to Veterinary Healthcare Associates at 3025 Dundee Road, Winter Haven, Florida 33884 USA. Stay tuned to the aforementioned Facebook page for continued updates on Pollo’s recovery.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)