Exeter man charged in case of dog who chewed her leg off

ContributedZoe, a German shepherd rescued in Exeter, is shown after treatment in this photo supplied by New York State Police.

State police said they have arrested an Exeter man in connection with the case of a German shepherd found with a missing leg.

According to a media release, Carl K. Pritchard, 59, was charged on Monday, Nov. 18, with the Agriculture and Markets Law violation of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance, a misdemeanor; and failure to provide appropriate shelter for dogs left outdoors, a violation.

Troopers from Richfield Springs reported they responded to a complaint of alleged animal cruelty at a residence on county Route 22 in Exeter on Nov. 14. They said a UPS driver making a delivery observed a dog whose left leg appeared to be missing and described it as “blown off.”

The Susquehanna SPCA responded to the scene and a local veterinarian was contacted.

The dog, named Zoe, was immediately taken to a clinic. A veterinary technician noted that the dog had been chained to a stake in the yard, living in a plastic pet carrier with a small amount of hay on the bottom and had no food and another bowl that was frozen and snow covered, according to the release.

Veterinarians reportedly told troopers they believed the dog had likely chewed off her own leg after they observed bone fragments in her stomach. She also had previous untreated injuries and scarred ear tips, the release said.

Zoe was cared for by veterinarians in Otsego County and later transported to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine for further care.

Zoe made it safely through surgery at Cornell on Wednesday, Nov. 20, said Susquehanna SPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes, in a media release Wednesday afternoon.

The doctors were able to safely remove the mass and amputate her leg, Haynes said, adding the next 24 hours would be critical critical, with coming out of anesthesia and bleeding risk being monitored closely.

 "The goal at this point is for her to be ready to leave the hospital to live her best life on Friday or Saturday," she said in the release.

"We are going to be extreme in our counseling to determine where she goes once she leaves the hospital," she continued. "Because we know very little about her and we want her to have the most relaxing home possible to fully recover, we will be requiring her adopter have no other animals and no small children. We also prefer they have some medical experience or at least know-how."

Troopers said Pritchard surrendered the dog due to his inability to pay for any vet bills. He is due to appear in the town of Exeter court on Dec. 4.

The Susquehanna SPCA got a call about the dog Thursday afternoon, Nov. 14, Haynes said last week. 

“It was traumatic for everybody involved,” she said. “Really, it was a very disturbing scene.”

Sara Haddad, shelter manager and a licensed veterinary technician, said the dog was thin, her shoulder was swollen and the leg was completely missing. The shoulder area was “meaty,” like it had been pulled at, Haddad said.

“I would say any number of reasons she would’ve torn her leg off for should’ve been addressed before she tore her leg off,” Haddad said. “Whether she was starving or in pain.”

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