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The Humane Society of the United States Offers Reward in Hillsborough County, Fla., Animal Cruelty Case

Dog shot, buried up to her neck and left to die

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for­­­­­­­­­ shooting a dog, burying her up to her neck and leaving her to die in a Hillsborough County, Fla., neighborhood.

The Case:  Hillsborough County Animal Services gives the following account: In late October, an anonymous Tampa Bay, Fla., tipster reported that shots had been fired in the neighborhood known as Clair-Mel, and that an injured dog was lying in the yard of an abandoned house. When the responding animal control officer arrived at the scene, she found a dog buried to her snout in the yard.  The officer quickly unearthed the pit bull-hound mix and discovered gunshot wounds on the animal.  The officer rushed the dog to emergency care, and she survived. The dog, now named Phoebe, is recovering while her shooter remains at large. Investigators determined that Phoebe was shot twice at close range, buried alive and left to die.  Local volunteers established The Phoebe Fund via friendsofhcas.org  to bolster a cash incentive for critical tips in this case.  

Animal Cruelty: Getting the serious attention of law enforcement, prosecutors and the community in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the community. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented. Studies show a correlation between animal cruelty and all manner of other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault.

“When a defenseless pet is attacked in such a violent manner, it signals a need for law enforcement to take the investigation of the crime very seriously, as study after study confirms that those who abuse animals are likely to hurt people, too. Our hearts go out to Phoebe, and we hope our reward will help bring justice for her,” said Kate MacFall, Florida state director for The Humane Society of the United States.

Marti Ryan, public information officer for Hillsborough County Animal Services, added, "Our team is grateful to The Humane Society of the United States for contributing resources to help find the person(s) who committed this senseless crime. Along with citizen support, we have renewed hope of rooting out the individual responsible for this violent act upon an innocent pet."

The Investigators:  Hillsborough County Animal Services in Tampa is conducting the investigation for this case. Anyone with information is asked to call (813) 744-5660 or email info@hillsboroughcounty.org.  Tips may remain anonymous.

Resources: The HSUS Animal Cruelty Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence while providing a variety of resources to law enforcement agencies, social work professionals, educators, legislators and families. The HSUS offers rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty. To see information on statistics, trends, laws and animal cruelty categories, click here.

Media Contact: Pepper Van Tassell: 240-751-0232; pvantassell@humanesociety.org

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