A male Labrador Retriever-mix was found barely live, dangling from a red leash tied to a bridge post near Champagne, IL. The dog’s mouth was not only muzzled, but the muzzle was also wrapped with electrical tape, presumably to prevent barking. The leash – which wasn’t long enough allow the dog to move more than inches without being hung from the bridge he was tied to. He was connected by a “choke” collar.
Mark Gillespie was walking his own dog near the old bridge, and discovered the dog. He immediately recognized the tortured dog as Bear, belonging to a neighbor in Sibley, IL.
“I called to him,” Gillespie said, “and he just kind of looked around but couldn’t see because his eyes were shut (and he couldn’t open them). It was obvious that he was whipped, that somebody had beat the crap out of him.”
When Ford County animal control officer Darrell Foster arrived at the scene, he took the dog to Daisy Mae Kennels in rural Paxton, where its condition was monitored. A gofundme.com account, set up by Angie Cleary of rural Paxton, reportedly raised more than $10,000 toward the animal’s medical costs. Those funds were used to have the dog transferred to the University of Illinois veterinary clinic.
According to June Bane, manager of Daisy Mae Kennels, in addition to dehydration, the dog has a broken jaw and several puncture wounds down the side of his neck.
In addition to its injuries, Foster said, the dog was found with eye and mange infections — two issues that likely were not caused by it being left at the bridge.
According to a printed report, “When asked why her dog was found tied to a bridge, she said, ‘I just got home.” Ford County sheriff Lt. Curt Miller said. “I asked her a second time about her dog, at which time she stated she did not know it was tied to a bridge but knew the dog was missing. When asked if she reported the dog as missing, she said she did not. I continued asking (her) questions, but she continued to tell me ‘I don’t know’ and ‘I just got home’ to all questions concerning her dog.”
Later, Miller spoke with the husband, who claimed the dog went missing during the evening of April 19 — the day before it was found.
Miller noted that during his conversations with the dog’s owners, “neither one asked how their dog was doing or where their dog was at,” or showed any concern about the dog’s well being, or even seemed surprised or upset that their dog was found tied to a bridge.
Sheriff Mark Doran said the investigation continues but whether State’s Attorney Randy Yedinak files charges remains to be seen because it’s unclear who left the dog to hang at the bridge. If anyone has information on the case, call 217-379-2324.
Bear is gradually improving but still not out of the woods.