MARCH 15, 2015 UPDATE: Two adults have also been arrested in this case, and Cabela is making amazingly good progress.
Two 17-year-old boys have been arrested and charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty and trespassing for tying a Pit Bull mix to railroad tracks and shooting her.
Tampa police officers Nick Wilson and Sr. Sgt. Rich Mills rescued the dog on March 4 after a 911 caller reported hearing gunshots. She was just moments away from being struck by a train.
Although she’d been shot twice in the neck and once in the right shoulder, the dog, who’s been named Cabela, survived.
In a news conference this evening, Detective Sgt. Patrick Messmer of the Tampa Police Department said investigators got a tip leading to a surveillance video in which several people could be seen walking Cabela to the tracks. Two of them — 17-year-old Natwan Callaway and Bobby Hollinger — were arrested and will be tried as adults. Others in the group are also expected to face charges.
Cabela had been bought for dog-fighting purposes, Messmer said. But since she was too sweet tempered to viciously kill other dogs, these thugs decided to viciously kill her.
At first, Hollinger threw Cabela into the woods and shot at her. But Cabela ran back to his house and sat, injured, on his front porch. So Hollinger and Callaway tied her to the railroad tracks, and Callaway shot her three times.
“Nothing gets you ready to see a helpless dog tied to a railroad tracks,” said Sr. Sgt. Mills.
After freeing her, he and Wilson rushed Cabela to Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency Service (TBVES). Veterinarian Dr. Jamie Davidson initially thought her shattered right front leg would need to be amputated, but during surgery it was able to be pinned and saved instead.
“Cabela came through surgery with flying colors and four legs,” TBVES posted on its Facebook page Friday. “The surgeon decided to pin it instead of amputation. It will be 6 to 8 weeks before we know whether she will regain full use and motion.”
Cabela’s original owners saw media coverage of her rescue last week and contacted Tampa police. They said she either escaped or was stolen from their yard four months ago — and, after reuniting with their dog this week, they decided not to bring her home.
“After a long visit where they were able to touch and cuddle with Cabela, they have made the decision to relinquish ownership and allow Cabela to be placed for adoption once her police hold is lifted,” TBVES reported on its Facebook page Friday.
Cabela is doing well, Katy Meyer, owner of TBVES, said at tonight’s press conference. The bandage on her leg was removed yesterday, and she is able to put a bit of weight on the leg.
TBVES is covering the cost of Cabela’s veterinary care, but is accepting donations via its website.
“All donations above what is necessary to cover the cost of Cabela’s care will be used for other animals rescued by Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency Service (last year over 500 injured, ill or orphaned dogs and cats were cared for at our hospital) or will help care for injured or ill pets whose owners are financially limited,” the website states.
Photo via Facebook