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Hutto Police Searching For Dog Abuser
Abused and abandoned! A dog is in need of cosmetic surgery after someone butchered her face. This could happen to any pet owner. And after learning the potential punishment for the person who did it, it's a story that prompted us to ask tough questions about Texas animal cruelty laws.
The dog has been nicknamed Victory. Investigators in Hutto have no solid leads and are asking the public for help finding who did this to her.
Victory is learning how to be loved. "She's turning into a really happy dog, a really playful dog," said Wendy Wright.
The playful pooch has trust issues -- and with good reason. Someone sliced and diced her pretty little face.
"We were looking at the nose being removed, the lips being removed, puncture wounds throughout her body," said Hutto Senior Animal Control Officer Becky Mitchell.
Mitchell found Victory -- shivering and severely abused -- wondering through a neighborhood in Hutto.
"In 24-years it's one of the saddest scenes I've seen," said Mitchell.
Victory's foster mom wants someone to pay.
"Currently penalties for animal cruelty are not as tough as I'd like to see them," said Wright.
But they're tougher than in most states. Texas has what's called a state jail penalty. Some cops call it a "junior felony." If convicted of animal cruelty, a person faces up to two years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
If that person has a prior conviction, then the animal cruelty charge becomes a third degree felony. That charge carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
"If we did not have the Texas state jail felony statute we'd have to charge cruelty to animals as a misdemeanor," said Hutto Police Chief Peter Scheets.
According to Scheets, animal cruelty laws were in place before laws protecting children. But even the toughest laws can't prevent an animal -- like Victory -- from being abused. Wright just hopes the abuser is held accountable.
"It's really unthinkable how someone could hurt a helpless animal," said Wright.
For information on how you can help Victory, go to http://www.austinpetsalive.org/2013/01/victory/.
By Alex Boyer