Puppies need love, attention, food, and lots of playtime, that much we know. But a sweet puppy named Shadow was chastised for making noise by her owner, whose solution to her puppy’s needs was to bind her mouth shut with a hair tie.
Shadow, a 4-month-old Labrador-German shepherd mix, was left in intense pain with a disfigured snout and scars that will last a lifetime. Alexis Callen, of Murray, Utah, has been charged with animal cruelty.
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) June 24, 2019
Callen, 19, first blamed Shadow’s shocking injuries on a dog sitter, but later she admitted to the police that she had administered the hair tie herself. Celestial Zoo, a Utah County cat and dog rescue, was the organization that came to Shadow’s rescue after Callen posted a photo of the puppy on Facebook.
In the photo, Shadow looked in poor condition with a damp coat and a visible, raw injury to her snout. According to The Sun, the 19-year-old’s post read: “My puppy got hurt badly and I don’t have the expenses to pay for her to go to the vet to get stitches, so I’m here to rehome her.”
After further investigation, Celestial Zoo discovered Callen’s cover story in the comments section. “I had to make an emergency trip to see my family,” the teen wrote, responding to a message of concern, “so I had someone in my complex watch her. When I got back her snout was tied shut and swollen,” she said.
Cruel teen ‘taped puppy’s mouth shut with hair tie for two weeks to stop her barking’ https://t.co/fysQezy4KW
— The Sun (@TheSun) June 23, 2019
“I tried to do what I could to help her,” the dubious disclaimer continued, “but I don’t have the expenses to pay for her to get stitches […] They said they did it because she wouldn’t stop whining,” Callen added. But she later confessed. “The owner did admit to putting the hair tie on the puppy,” a West Jordan Animal Services representative told Fox 13.
While Callen admitted leaving the hair tie on for around 48 hours, the photos, not for the fainthearted, told a darker story. Shadow’s veterinarian believed the hair tie had been left on for up to two weeks.
After being administered antibiotics and pain meds, Shadow was put under the care of dog fosterer Caylla Facemyer, who described the pup’s horrific injuries. “It looks even worse in person,” she said. “The left side is completely open. Even with her mouth closed you can see into her mouth,” the shocked fosterer continued. “It’s pretty bad.”
On June 18, Celestial Zoo informed concerned followers with an update on Shadow’s condition on Facebook. “Shadow had to go back to the vet today for a cone,” they wrote, revealing that the feisty pup was “not happy” about her cone, but that all were relieved to learn of Callen’s arrest.
Shadow had to go back to the vet today for a cone, but even though she is not happy about her cone, she is happy to…
“We are thrilled at the quick action and hope that justice is found,” they shared. According to KUTV, Callen was charged with felony torture of a companion animal and booked into Salt Lake County Jail.
Celestial Zoo told Fox 5 that Shadow will undergo reconstructive surgery at the end of June 2019. Until then, the puppy is unable to eat or drink properly because food and water leak from the opening in her cheek. Her surgery is estimated to cost between $1,700 and $1,900, and the pet rescue organization is frantically fundraising to help recoup costs.
Shadow has her surgery scheduled! She will have her surgery at Blue Pearl where they will repair the damage to her…
It will take the brave pup at least two weeks to recover from the procedure, according to her veterinarian. After surgery, Shadow will have to make do with soft foods and no chew toys until her delicate mouth wounds heal. “[It’s] going to be so hard for a puppy!” Celestial Zoo shared on Facebook, and they’re right! Try telling a puppy that playtime is postponed.
However, throughout her recovery and beyond, Shadow is in great hands. “She loves attention,” said Facemyer, and from now on, Shadow will be getting just the right kind.