Leslie Schwindt of Rockford has a severe case of "puppy love" when it comes to her newly adopted puppy-affectionately named 'Angel.' However, it doesn't mask her anger over the fact she found Angel in a hayfield in Rockford last week, shot up to five times with a 22-caliber long rifle.
Schwindt said she and a friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) were checking the pivots in the hayfields last Sunday evening when two puppies popped their heads out of the weeds. Schwindt said the puppies appeared to be a border collie mix, approximately 3-4 months old; they were hungry, frightened and had some cuts and scrapes on their bodies.
"Sadly, animal drop-offs are quite common out here in the country, so finding two abandoned dogs was not that surprising. " Schwindt said.
They took the puppies home with them and were luckily able to find them good homes in the area fairly quickly.
The next day (Monday) the two were out in the hayfield again, when they spotted Angel hobbling around the field.
"At first we thought...'here we go - another drop-off,' " Schwindt said. However, upon closer inspection it was clear that this puppy (obviously from the same litter as the other twos) was severely injured.
"Her left hind leg was flopping - obviously broken, she was trembling and had a lot of dried blood on her," Schwindt said. "She had probably been out in the field for several days."
Schwindt brought the puppy home and she and her husband, Dave, carefully took the puppy to Blackfoot Animal Clinic.
Veterinarian Tony Parsons confirmed that Angel had 4-5 bullet wounds: two across the back, one on the face and one bad gunshot wound - which shattered the tibia on her back left leg. Thankfully, she had no internal injuries.
"Unfortunately the only options were to amputate the dog's leg or have her euthanized," Parsons said.
"My husband and I did some very quick soul-searching about what to do and decided Angel needed to be saved," Schwindt said.
"I truly saw the best and worst of people in this case," Parsons said. "Someone uses a dog for target practice and someone else comes along and does the right thing - brings the dog in and gets it taken care of - they are wonderful people and I have so much respect for what they did."
Almost a week later, Angel is adjusting well to walking on three legs and fits right in with the Schwindts'...their two children, 5 dogs, 3 cats, and numerous goats, cows, horses and chickens (many of which were rescued and adopted). Angel is on painkillers and antibiotics and is expected to make a full recovery.
"Angel is such a sweetheart," Schwindt said. "I have to watch her because she wants to run up and down the stairs..but no baths or rough playing until her stitches heal."
The Schwindts have incurred an $820 veterinarian bill in their effort to save Angel. An account has been set up at Blackfoot Animal Clinic to help cover the cost. Any additional money donated will go to the Bingham County Humane Society. A Facebook page has also been set up for Angel under 'Help An Angel.'
"It's not so much about the money," Schwindt said. "I just want to make people aware of this situation so they know that this kind of crap 'does' happen."
Schwindt said law enforcement is aware of the situation but at this point it is unknown who might be responsible for this act of animal cruelty. Anyone with information is urged to contact the sheriff's office.
Idaho is one of only three states (along with North Dakota and South Dakota) left in the country that does not have felony punishment for acts of animal cruelty. Idaho recently fell short of the 60,000 required signatures to help get this law changed on the November 2012 ballot.