Cello, a female German Shepherd, is in a Louisville veterinary hospital, fighting to recover from a gunshot wound to her head and other serious injuries while authorities in Eastern Kentucky search for the person who attacked her.
The Humane Society of the United States is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of that person.
"It ranks as one of the worst cases I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot," said Rebecca Eaves, president of The Arrow Fund, a Louisville-based nonprofit group that works with abused animals in the Kentucky-Indiana area.
Cello — that's the name rescuers gave her — endured emergency surgery in Louisville last week. But her injuries were so severe that her prognosis remains uncertain, Eaves said.
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The bullet that entered near her eye and exited her neck left behind infected wounds that had to be cleaned and repaired. The wounds were the size of a half dollar. The eye and bone fragments had to be removed. A CT scan was to be done Friday to determine if there was a brain injury.
"The good news is that she is eating well, but she definitely is not out of the woods yet," Eaves said Friday. "It's going to be a long process."
Cello was found Tuesday wandering wounded and weak in Floyd County, but authorities and rescuers don't know where Cello came from, who owned her or who attacked her.
According to Eaves, the dog was shot from close range. Half of her tail was gone with the bone exposed, but veterinarians still aren't sure how that happened. The rest of her tail had to be amputated. Cello also was dirty and emaciated.
"Everyone involved couldn't understand how she was even alive," Eaves said.
Bryan Hall, assistant chief of the Prestonsburg Police Department, said no one has come forward so far with information about the dog or her attacker. Several, however, have called offering donations, Hall said.
Eaves said she began getting text messages about the injured dog early last week. Eaves and Valerie Allen, an Arrow Fund volunteer and pilot, flew to Eastern Kentucky to pick up Cello and fly her to Louisville, where she was treated at the BluePearl Animal Hospital.
"We were checking her on the plane to see if she was still breathing," Eaves said. "She walked up to me the first night, and I told her nobody was ever going to hurt her again. But she's still very traumatized."
Eaves said the dog's treatment will be expensive; donations are accepted through her organization's website, thearrowfund.org.
If things go well, The Arrow Fund will find a new home for Cello.
For now, anyone with information about the dog is asked to call the Prestonsburg Police Department at 606-886-1010.