IVINS – Another animal cruelty case has hit Southern Utah as a pit bull fights for its life after being shot with an arrow on old Highway 91 Friday morning.
Sgt. Kurt Bowen, with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, discovered the dog early Friday morning about 20 minutes drive outside of Ivins. He called Aggie Smith, Ivins Animal Control officer and director of the Ivins Animal Shelter, who responded to the scene.
“I’ve been doing this for nine years and I’ve seen a lot of stuff,” Smith said, getting emotional as she spoke, “but (nothing) that bad.”
Smith and Bowen initially thought the dog had been shot with a gun. A veterinarian later determined the dog had been shot by an arrow – likely titanium or aluminum, as there were no wood fragments found inside the dog.
The dog was shot from behind, Smith said, and the arrow went all the way up to its stomach, nicking its intestines in two or three places and injuring the outer area of its pancreas. The arrow blew out the area underneath the dog’s stomach, Smith said, and the dog’s interior fat was pushed out as a result of the injury, which ultimately saved its life.
“That stopped the bleeding,” Smith said. “He would’ve bled out.”
Smith said she doesn’t know if someone took the dog out to the desert area to use it as target practice or if it was an abandoned animal. The area where it was found is a common dumping ground for people who abandon their pets, she said.
Smith said most dogs, regardless of breed, would have become aggressive with such severe injuries, but the pit bull just kept wagging its tail.
“He was just so sweet, I mean really,” she said, “just happy to see somebody.”
Though she normally transports animals in the back of her vehicle, Smith said she allowed the pit bull to ride up front with her. The dog sat next to her during the ride with its head on her shoulder.
“I cried the whole way,” Smith said.
The pit bull was taken to Red Hills Animal Hospital in St. George, where it underwent a three-hour surgery. The veterinarian, Dr. Scott Hannig, said the dog has a good chance of recovering, Smith said.
“At this point, he’s on heavy doses of antibiotics, and we’ll see how he does,” she said.
Smith said Sgt. Bowen was very gentle and kind with the dog and went the extra mile to help it, where others might not have done that much for an injured animal. Bowen performed triage, wrapped the animal and stayed with it until help arrived.
“He did a tremendous job with that dog today,” Smith said.
The staff members at the animal hospital have named the 60-pound pit bull “Remy.” Smith said Sheriff Cory Pulsipher has offered to pay for all of the dog’s medical expenses.
“I can’t say enough about Cory Pulsipher and his sergeant,” Smith said. “They were awesome today.”
Smith said Remy is in need of a temporary foster home where he can recover and be cared for. It is unknown at this point whether the dog has issues with other animals, she said, but with people he is exceptionally sweet and affectionate.
“The best place for him would be a foster who would be willing to foster him for at least two weeks, give him his medicine,” Smith said.
While the Ivins Animal Shelter has a recovery area for animals, Smith said with such serious injuries Remy will be better off recovering in a secluded place away from the shelter pets.
“We do an awesome job at our shelter, but the shelter’s really the last place I want him to recuperate initially,” she said.
If a foster home cannot be found, Smith said donations will be needed to help pay for Remy’s board at the animal hospital.
“His surgery bills are covered. What isn’t covered is if we keep him there,” she said.
Anyone interested in fostering Remy should call the Ivins Animal Shelter, 435-628-1049, or call Smith directly on her animal control cell phone, 435-669-7043. Those willing to help pay for the dog’s boarding costs can call either of those numbers or contact Red Hills Animal Hospital directly at 435-656-8886.
“Hopefully he survives this,” Smith said.
Smith added the only way to help stop animal cruelty cases like this is to enact stricter penalties for those who perpetrate animal cruelty.
“I’d just like to see stricter laws for stuff like this, because it’s becoming more and more frequent,” she said.
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