Ithaca, N.Y. — Jim Bouderau has seen lots of animal abuse in his nearly four years as executive director of the SPCA of Tompkins County.
That’s ranged, he said, from events as gruesome as dogs being starved to death to cats being shot.
Yet Bouderau said the recent shooting of a dog was the worst he’s ever seen.
Lillie, a German shepherd mix, was found by a neighbor around 6:30 a.m. last Thursday morning 10 to 12 hours after it was shot in the head twice by a .22 caliber long gun. The dog was in extreme agony.
“It’s probably about the craziest, but it’s certainly the worst,” Bouderau said of the incident. “This is certainly the first time we’ve seen an animal survive something this horrific.”
Jeffrey Wood, of Newfield, has pleaded not guilty to an aggravated cruelty to animals charge, according to WHCU. Bouderau said the felony charge carries a maximum of two years in prison.
Wood is accused of shooting the dog after it chewed Wood’s wireless internet router, Sgt. Brad Covert of the Tompkins County Sherriff’s office told the Ithaca Journal.
The Voice attempted to reach Wood at his home, but he was unavailable for comment.
Lillie will be blind for the rest of her life, Bouderau said.
“She might always have mobility issues; just learning how to be a blind dog is going to be a challenge to begin with,” he said.
Bouderau is optimistic about the dog’s recovery, however.
“Our history with blind cats and dogs is that in the right environment, they can be very successful long-term,” he said.
Lillie is currently in stable condition, according to a statement by the SPCA, but she is expected to have to go through more surgeries, “including the repair of a wound to her soft palate as well as the removal of one (potentially two) of her eyes due to the trauma caused by the gunshot wound.”
“She lived; the pain and suffering she endured from the time it happened to the time we found her — that’s what makes this particularly heartbreaking,” he said.
The dog is still legally owned by Wood, Bouderau said, but the SPCA is working to get the dog signed over to them as quickly as possible. Lillie is expected to be put up for adoption after recovering.
“We would hope that [the adoption] would take place 90 days from now, but in cases like these, we’ve had seized animals, due to the legal process, take up to a year to be released to us,” he said.
“Unfortunately, that decision is out of our hands. We just need Mr. Wood to sign the animal over to us as soon as possible for that to happen,” he said. “We hope he will.”
One silver lining, Bouderau said, is that the SPCA has received a lot of calls about Lillie’s case; many people are offering to help.
“It’s wonderful,” Bouderau said.
Donations for Lillie’s medical care, which is estimated to cost approximately $5,000, can be sent to the SPCA’s ANGEL fund through SPCA’s website, www.spcaonline.com. Donations can also be sent in the form of a check directly to the Tompkins County SPCA at 1640 Hanshaw Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850.
“We use that [ANGEL] fund specifically for emergencies like this,” Bouderau said.