Shadow showed up at Silver Lakes Animal Hospital last September in pretty bad shape.
The tiny, 12-pound Chihuahua had been found chained to a fence, with no food or water. His black coat was overtaken by mange and he had gashes on both of his sides from a harness.
It was a neighbor who spotted the pup and took him to the vet for help.
On Monday, Pembroke Pines police used Shadow’s story to send a stern warning to pet owners via social media: “Owning an animal comes with the responsibility to shelter, feed, and care for them — if you are unable to meet this responsibility, do the right thing and find a pet owner or animal rescue who will.”
In Shadow’s case, his owner, Jenniemae Mathurin, 55, is now facing a felony charge of animal cruelty.
According to Mathurin’s police report, on Sept. 21, 2017, a neighbor told officers that she spotted the dog “attached to a broken fence with a metal chain and harness.”
“She noticed the dog was injured as it appeared to have large cuts on both sides of its body,” an officer wrote in the report.
Dr. Robin Kuhn, medical director of the hospital, told police it appeared Shadow had been left in the harness “for long periods of time,” according to the report.
“Dr. Kuhn explained that the harness was completely embedded inside the dog’s skin,” an officer wrote. “ The dog’s hair and skin were in a very bad condition possibly from mange … The odor from the dog was a combination of the skin condition and the rotting flesh.”
According to the report, Kuhn told officers she believed Shadow may have been left unattended for days or possibly weeks.
The investigation led to Mathurin, police said. Mathurin told police she kept him outside because he urinated in the house.
Police say while they were investigating, Shadow was recovering. Thanks to an unnamed good Samaritan and an anonymous animal rescue group, Shadow’s $2,000 in medical bills were covered. He was then adopted by another family, police said.
But the department said its main goal in sharing Shadow’s story was “ an attempt to prevent similar incidents of animal cruelty.”
“Leaving your pet without access to food, water, or shelter is illegal. Leaving your pet to suffer in pain with injuries or other medical ailments without veterinary care is illegal,” the department said, asking the community to stay vigilant and report similar cases. “It is through the actions and tips of our residents that animals like Shadow are rescued, and go on to recover and find happy homes.”