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The face of animal abuse…

It's been approximately two weeks since a call came into Gary Phillips, Mountain City Animal Control Officer, concerning a dog had been reported running at large in the Industrial Drive section of the city. It's not a call, or a dog, that he will soon forget.
With no identification or rabies tags, Phillips attempted to capture the Husky mix but could not get a catchpole on the animal. Wary of strangers, “Mickey,” as he was later named, did his best to avoid human contact. After setting out a large dog trap and giving Mickey some space and time to settle down, Phillips returned several hours later and discovered the dog in the trap. It was then that he discovered Mickey's horrific wounds. A piece of rope with a knot was exposed on the bottom portion of his neck, appearing as if the rope had grown into his skin. “I thought it was a cable in his neck,” he said. According to Phillips, the rope may have been put on the dog as a puppy and never adjusted as he grew.
Mickey was taken to the Mountain City Animal Control shelter and sedated by local veterinarian, Dr. Earl Taylor, in order to remove to rope. They discovered a horrific injury so severe that the wound was secreting infection. “If we didn't pick 100 maggots out of his neck, we didn't pick one,” said Phillips. Mickey was given a rabies shot and put on a course of antibiotics after the rope was removed and the wounds cleansed. At first, Mickey's age was estimated at four years old and Shar-Pai and Husky mix. Once the swelling in the dog's face subsided, Phillips realized he is a Husky/Chow mix and just one to two years old.
Gaining Mickey's trust was a number one priority, and slowly he began to respond to Phillips' attempts at socialization. Approximately 10 days after he was rescued, a wary Mickey appeared to be somewhat playful and trusting as he allowed Phillips to pet him for the first time. Mickey has become more animated and does not show any signs of defensive aggression as he trusts Phillips more and more each day. Given his circumstances, Mickey has not shown any signs of truculent behavior. “What went on with Mickey was inexcusable,” said Phillips. “This is the worst case of injury to a neck I've ever seen.”
Phillips and Mountain City's previous Animal Control Officer, Al Gryder, are optimistic and believe Mickey's prospects for the future are good. “Mickey's going to be here a few months,” Phillips said. “We think he'll be adoptable. It's obvious he has been neglected and we'd really like to give him a chance.” They both believe that Mickey is a victim of aggravated animal abuse, a Class E felony in the State of Tennessee.
If anyone has any information about this injured dog please call Gary Phillips at 727-7880. In order to prosecute the individual(s) involved in this or any other animal abuse case, witnesses need to be willing to testify in court. As in most courts, animal abuse cases typically take a long time to move through the judicial system. A first conviction of animal abuse in Tennessee is considered a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of up to $2,500 and imprisonment up to 11 months and 29 days. A second or subsequent convictions are Class E felonies, with fines up to $3,000 and a possible one to six years imprisonment, based on the judge's ruling in all cases.