For an unbelievable three weeks, a yellow labrador lay in a Missouri ditch, abandoned and left for dead in the middle of winter. Words could scarcely describe the horrific sight of the battered lump, his paralyzed body wasting away.
Rescue worker Katrina Campbell fell to her knees in agony at the sight of the brutally abused dog, originally discovered by a local couple who immediately sought help on his behalf. The dog had been unable to move for so long, his own feces and urine caused his flesh to burn.
“It was almost like lifting a carcass, there was nothing to him,” Campbell recalled. Initially, rescuers suspected the dog had been hit by a car.
The truth, though, was much tougher to stomach. Someone had shot the dog, leaving him paralyzed, then hit him over the head with a hammer before dumping him in a ditch.
“I got down on my knees, kissed him on the head and said a prayer over him,” Campbell recalled of her first moments with the dog, later named Trooper.
“That’s when he lifted his head and he licked me on my face and I knew right then, I had to fight for this dog.”
In the days that followed, a team of caring workers from Missouri K9 Friends surrounded Trooper, slowly helping him regain strength.
While Trooper’s chances of walking again are slim at best, the kind-eyed lab has shown an incredible resilience thus far, living up to his tough guy name.
Meanwhile, Mandy Ryan, president of the rescue Missouri K9 Friends, began searching for the person responsible for harming Trooper. Her investigation led to 56-year-old Jason Edward Hampton, who confessed to shooting the dog.
“He answered the phone, I introduced myself and I asked about Trooper, and he immediately stated, ‘well, I’ll tell you right now it was me,'” Ryan recalled of her conversation with Hampton. “I shot that dog and I hit him in the head with a hammer.”
According to Ryan, animal laws in rural Missouri are somewhat loose. If a dog wanders onto private property and behaves in a destructive manner, the property owner can legally shoot the dog.
As reported by the Riverfront Times, Hampton intended to scare the dog away with a shot near his foot, but missed, and hit him in the neck. Hampton believed he was putting the dog out of his misery when he took a hammer to his head.
“He didn’t feel bad about hitting the dog in the head with a hammer, he just confessed it like it was nothing,” Ryan said. Hampton has since been charged with second-degree animal abuse and is jailed on a $10,000 bond, according to USA Today.
Trooper is making a slow recovery, and fundraising efforts are well underway to help cover his medical care costs.
It looks like Trooper will have no trouble finding a new home, as nearly two dozen adoption applications have already come in on the miracle dog’s behalf.
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