TWO dogs are fighting for their lives after being deliberately shot as they were tucked up in their kennels for the night
Lurchers Jess, five, and her father, eight-year-old Pointer, were attacked overnight on Monday on an allotment in Ashington.
Staff treating the dogs at Cramlington’s Croft veterinary Hospital initially thought the pair had been used as bait to train fighting dogs.
It was only when they were well enough to be X-rayed yesterday (Wednesday), that vets discovered their bodies were riddled with lead shot.
Jess was shot from above, shattering her shoulder blade and causing widespread muscle damage. She still has around 50 pieces of shot in her upper torso.
Pointer was hit in the leg, destroying his elbow joint as well as causing a horrific gaping wound. Veterinary surgeons were forced to carry out emergency surgery to save his leg.
Both dogs were on the verge of hypothermia when they were found by their distraught owner the morning after the attack and were barely breathing.
Vet and hospital co-owner Judith Joyce said: “When Jess came in she was just flat out on the trolley. She had lost a lot of blood.
“Pointer was similar but not quite as a bad. When we first saw Jess, we thought she had been picked up and shaken by a fighting dog, so that’s what we initially thought had happened.
“It is really common practice. They need to train their dogs, they pick on a soft dog like a lurcher because they bleed easily, cry a lot and don’t fight back.”
When the team started treating the pair their organs had begun to shut down. Their circulation was so poor it was a struggle to even put them on a drip.
Having had fluids and two types of intravenous pain relief – an opiate and one that relaxes the muscles – Jess and Pointer were finally able to be properly examined.
“They had fluids and antibiotics and have been drugged up for two days for the pain,” Judith said.
“They were too poorly for X-rays when they first came in. We had to wait until they were stable and we knew they could breathe.
“Jess’ breathing wasn’t great when she came in. Her vital signs improved yesterday.
“On Tuesday, Pointer had surgery on his fracture as he could have lost his leg.
“Jess wasn’t up to an anaesthetic. “She was shot in her shoulder and may need to have the joint fused.
“Pointer still requires more surgery, and Jess, we don’t even know where to start on her.”
Two other dogs, in the kennel at the Woodhorn Road allotments at the time, were unharmed, but they are staying at Croft for the time for their own safety.
“It’s not an accident is it?” Judith said. “They were in their kennel, locked up safe for the night, and someone has broken in and shot them.”
“They are going to need long-term intensive care,” she added “They have been such good patients.
“The first sign of life from them both was wagging tails – before they could even raise their heads their tails were wagging.”
The cost of Jess and Pointer’s treatment is already into three figures, money their owner does not have. Anyone who wishes to make a donation towards their care is asked to call the hospital on (0191) 250 3800.
Police have appealed for help to trace the dogs’ attackers and have asked for anyone who heard or saw anything suspicious in the area overnight on Monday into Tuesday to call them on 101 ext 69191 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Ashington Neighbourhood Inspector Barrie Joisce said: “While this was a distressing incident I’d like to reassure the public that investigations are ongoing into who did this.
“There is nothing to suggest the wider public are at any risk.”