WARNING: This story will include graphic images of animal abuse.
It’s human nature to love and bond with dogs — they play a huge role in the lives of so many. On the opposite side of this coin, only the worst parts of human nature can be found in animal abusers and those that intentionally mistreat or hurt the animals that many of us call friends and family.
An unfortunate example of truly awful cruelty towards animals showed up on when Mandy Garner took to Facebook to recount a violent, near-deadly assault on her service dog, and demand “Justice for Gizmo.”
On Saturday, March 20th, Garner let Gizmo out to use the bathroom in the front yard of her Baytown, Texas home. She dropped some items off in her home and returned to find the two-year-old black Shih Tzu in his crate on the porch, shaking.
He looked badly injured, and at first, Garner feared he’d been run over or struck by a passing car. She rushed him to the animal hospital, which ran tests and gave him pain medication but couldn’t say for sure how he’d ended up so badly hurt. On Monday, he was hospitalized and the veterinarian confirmed that Gizmo’s wounds were consistent with harsh chemical burns, likely spilled intentionally on his stomach and chest.
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“So now my baby is blind and will have to have both of his eyes removed. His life will not be the same, he will not be able to play with his toys or even see again and he loves to do that,” Garner wrote on Facebook.
During the week that Gizmo was hospitalized, Garner began to reflect on what she believed to be potential clues. She’d left Gizmo for only a few moments, which meant the abuser had to have been close by and fast-acting. Moreover, it was likely someone who could take advantage of Gizmo’s friendly disposition.
The pint-sized pup is especially fond of kids and likes to roll over on his back for belly rubs. The worst of Gizmo’s wounds were on his stomach and underside area. Lastly, and most importantly, whoever did it had to have access to a powerful, dangerous chemical in a safe, easy-to-store container that they quickly poured on Gizmo.
Garner also reflected on some neighbor kids she says were laughing at her as she left the house to pick up medicine for Gizmo. When she asked them if they’d seen anything happen to her black Shih Tzu, she said in a Facebook post that they just walked away, adding, “these people are always causing trouble with other neighbors. The parents of the children works for or owns a carpet cleaning business so they have access to a very toxic industrial chemical. That was a red flag for me… Gizmo is a very sweet dog and loves children so the kids possibly called him over there and he rolled over on his belly and they poured borax acid on him. A pest control officer said that it was a large amount intentionally put on him, not to mention he had internal bruising in his chest as well as mouth messed up where they possibly could have kicked him afterwards.”
Though Garner is fairly confident that she knows who did it, she is still working with others in her neighborhood to search for video evidence or eyewitness testimony. She claims that the Harris County Sheriff’s Department declined to investigate the matter as they “don’t investigate animal cruelty [unless] a dog has bitten someone.” She has filed a report with the Houston SPCA.
“Let’s help do their jobs for them,” she added on Facebook. Gizmo’s page has reached nearly 2,000 members, and a fundraiser arranged on Mandy Garner’s behalf has surpassed its original $3,000 goal to cover his medical costs.
Local and national news outlets are beginning to cover his story, as outrage over the case grows. Fortunately, the charity group Second Chances For Blind Dogs has stepped in to cover some of Gizmo’s medical costs and connect him with custom devices that can allow him mobility and safety as a disabled dog.
Keep up with the case and Gizmo’s recovery on the Facebook group page, make a donation here, or learn more about the valuable work the Houston SPCA and Second Chances For Blind Dogs are doing at their websites!
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