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Chihuahua survives head shot – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

Kim Casey, director of programs at the Jackson County Animal Shelter, holds Lazarus, who is recovering at the shelter from extreme abuse. [Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune]

A chihuahua who survived being starved, shot in the head and stuffed in a bag to die is beginning to regain his faith in humanity as he slowly and cautiously climbs his way to a happier fate than he almost had

The 10-pound dog, named Lazarus by shelter staff after the biblical character who cheated death, was discovered by chance during a traffic stop by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, said shelter manager Kim Casey jackson county animals

Emaciated and battling extensive dental disease, the dog was one of two that were shot, presumed dead and thrown into the vehicle to be disposed of.

Waiting in the dark bag with the other dog, who died when the pair were discovered, Lazaro’s luck changed only because an officer decided to conduct a vehicle search.

“It was a Jackson County Sheriff’s case. They stopped a vehicle and when they searched the vehicle, they discovered a bag that contained what the occupants told officers were two dead dogs,” Casey said.

“People admitted to shooting the dogs and thought they were dead. One was, in fact, dead. But one wasn’t.”

Casey, who said the two dogs were senior Chihuahuas, said it was heartbreaking to think the little dog was traumatized when would-be caretakers shot him and then threw him in a sack with “his dead friend.”

“We immediately took him to (Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center) for evaluation and initial treatment. He had an obvious wound to the top of his head. … Whatever type (of gun) it was, no he did what they had hoped he would do,” Casey noted.

Casey said both dogs had medical needs “more likely than anyone would object to paying.” Casey declined to provide details of the criminal case related to the traffic stop or discovery of the dogs, citing policies related to an ongoing investigation.

While Lazarus’ case is sad, Casey said it signifies a steady increase in cases of neglect and abuse as pet owners face a regional shortage of available veterinary care and a struggling economy where the People acquire pets despite the lack of resources or ability to provide adequate care. .

Last week, Jackson County officials rescued 32 animals from a property off the Rogue River after a neighbor reported a sick and neglected dog tied up in a property’s front yard.

County animal control officers and sheriff’s deputies obtained a search warrant based on the reported dog’s condition and later discovered two dead dogs and a dead cat on the property. They rescued a number of dogs, cats and exotic birds that were left on the property.

The suspects, Michael Lee Hamilton, 71, and Debbie Lee Hamilton, 61, both of Rogue River, were charged with three counts of first-degree animal cruelty and 10 counts of second-degree animal cruelty.

At the end of September, dozens of animals were found abandoned without food or water. The animals had previously been in the care of a Grants Pass-based business, Pawsitive K9 Solutions.

When animals are seized during the investigation of a criminal case, they become evidence and the alleged owners must agree to turn the animals over to county animal services officials.

Lazarus was initially kept as probation, a state that can find dogs or cats in limbo for weeks, months or longer, until officers involved in the case encouraged the former owners to surrender the dog.

“We have animals that get stuck in this evidence situation, but one of the ways we can move forward with treatment is if the owner surrenders them,” Casey said.

“We treat them for some things, anyway, because we have to. It’s easier to move forward with treatment and care decisions if the animal is surrendered.”

Casey said there has been a general increase in cases of neglect and abuse, a sign of the times on the heels of pandemic restrictions and job losses, along with limited veterinary care and a struggling economy.

“These things are becoming more frequent. Lack of access to veterinary services is a big part of it, people’s inability to afford the luxury of taking care of their animals in general,” Casey said, noting that if left untreated, Basic medical needs can escalate into costly emergency scenarios.

“Most of it is negligence, not so much intentional cruelty. They can’t afford to provide proper medical care, or there’s no access if they can afford it. In some cases, it’s likely to be people who don’t even they’re only able to take care of themselves. I think these kinds of cases reflect people who are really struggling in recent years.”

Casey said it is always preferred that an animal be turned over to county officials rather than deprived of proper care.

“Our job is to be that safety net for people. That’s what a shelter should be: a safety net for people who need someone to step in and help make sure their animals’ needs are met they are satisfied when they cannot.”

Lazarus is scheduled for further evaluations next week, and Casey expects a reasonably clean bill of health, given his age, delayed care and a hole in his spring.

Whether he’s in veterinary treatment or even hospice, Casey said he’ll feel cared for and fearless during his final days, weeks or years of life.

“I named him Lazarus because he came back from the dead. We’re just giving him follow-up medical care and hopefully the vet won’t say he has any underlying issues. He has a horrible tooth infection and was completely emaciated, but hopefully that’s it period,” Casey said.

“Right now he’s been kept on antibiotics and getting proper nutrition. When we introduce a feeding program to dogs that have starved, we have to reintroduce proper nutrition very slowly so we don’t create other problems. As soon as we started the refeeding program, he immediately ate. He was hungry and he wanted to eat. He may not be comfortable eating, but he is eating and he is eating well.”

At 10 pounds, Lazarus can gain a few pounds, Casey said.

Barring bad news at the vet, he’ll be looking for some kind humans to claim him as their own.

“He’s just hanging out, waiting to see what happens next,” he added.

“He’s been through a lot, but he’s getting better every day.”

For more information on different ways to support the shelter, including contributions to the shelter’s medical fund, see fotas.org

Contact reporter Buffy Pollock at 541-776-8784 or bpollock@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @orwritergal

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