The Parker County Sheriff's Department is investigating a case of animal cruelty where a dog was fatally shot in the head after being locked in a cage with her nursing pups.
According to a news release from the sheriff's office, a Springtown bus driver found the caged dogs at about 6:30 a.m. while driving the morning bus route. The cage was left partially in the roadway on the 100 block of Raley Road, not far from Veal Station Road in Springtown.
Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said the deceased dog had 10 puppies abandoned in the kennel with her and that they were "still nursing on their deceased mother” when she was recovered by sheriff's deputies.
There were 11 elementary school children aboard the bus when the driver stopped and reported the scene. None of the children ware believed to have seen the cage or dogs, the sheriff's office said.
Sheriff’s Animal Control Supervisor Karen Kessler said the mother dog was described as a 3-year-old, red shepherd mix with a black muzzle, weighing about 35 pounds. Kessler added the dogs were deliberately placed inside a wire dog kennel, with an egg crate glued to cardboard which was placed in the bottom of the kennel.
“There are currently seven female and three male puppies, approximately 7-9 days old,” Kessler said. “One of the puppies barely has its eyes open. They were covered in their mother’s blood from where she had been shot in the top of the head. The exit wound was located on the left side of her neck, leaving a large puddle of blood. The mother was obviously malnourished and should have weighed at least 50 pounds. We also found an empty metal pan inside the crate.”
The sheriff's department provided photos of the puppies and their mother in the cage, but NBC 5 determined they were too gruesome to publish. Officials later released a photo of the puppies after they had been cleaned, which can be seen above.
“Parker County does not have an animal problem,” said Fowler. “We have a people problem. It’s hard to imagine that someone would be so cruel as to execute any animal, but to kill a dog with nursing babies, and leave such a gory picture, is beyond human imagination.”
The sheriff's department said the pups were released to the care of Angels & Outlaws 2nd Chance Bully Ranch in Hico where they have been evaluated by a veterinarian and are being hand-nursed until they are healthy enough to be weaned and adopted.
The animal cruelty case is being investigated by the Parker County Sheriff’s Animal Control Division and Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division. Anyone with information about the case or who may know the dog's owner is urged to contact authorities at 817-594-8845 or the Parker County Crime Stoppers Hotline at 817-599-5555.
Crime Stoppers will pay up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and/or indictment of the suspect(s) involved. You may remain anonymous when calling.