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Dog beaten, shot, left to die near Foresthill

Rescue group seeks justice, prosecution in horrific case of animal abuse
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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For two days, off and on, the barking and whimpering in the woods near Sugar Pine Reservoir east of Foresthill kept up. The campers who had arrived from the Bay Area initially had heard gunshots but as the hours turned into days, they resolved to find the dog making the pitiful sounds. When they did locate the canine – a small terrier-crossbreed with red hair and coal black eyes – they found what rescue group founder Susan Wallace would later describe as “every rescuer’s nightmare.” The dog was tied by a rope to a tree and its blood-encrusted face covered pellet-gun wounds and a broken, mangled jaw. It was unable to walk because toes on a hind leg had been broken. The group scooped the dog up and drove to Pinole, 140 miles away, and brought it into the Pinole Vet Clinic for the first of what has been a series of treatments since then. On Wednesday, nearly a month after the rescue, the dog now dubbed Frankie by volunteers at Scooter’s Pals in Grass Valley, rested comfortably on a couch at the organization’s office. While some semblance of a normal life had been returned to the dog, Wallace said that she’s seeking justice for Frankie and wants the person who injured the dog to be prosecuted on animal cruelty charges. A key reason is that a no-contest plea or guilty conviction would prevent the owner from having another dog for five years, she said. Wallace said Scooter’s Pals in Grass Valley adopted the pet out to the elderly Foresthill man six months ago, she said. The non-profit group had received a phone call from the man expressing frustration over house-breaking the five-year-old dog, Wallace said. But the dog had shown no signs with Scooter’s Pals of any problems. The group had asked whether he wanted to return Frankie and he said no at that time. A microchip implanted in the dog traced the injured dog back to Scooter’s Pals because the man – although he had promised to do so – had never registered it with the county. Placer County authorities are looking into complaints in connection with Frankie’s injuries. Animal Services Program Manager Mike Winters said Wednesday that both his office and the Placer County District Attorney’s Office have been provided with information from Scooter’s Pals about the case. Winters said Animal Services has interviewed several people connected with the incident, including the former owner in Foresthill. The case can be categorized at this time as under investigation, he said. The dog is now facing reconstructive surgery on its jaw. Some of the pellets will remain in its head because of the danger of surgically removing them, Wallace said. Scooter’s Pals can be reached at (530) 350-2099. The Website is scooterspals.org.