NEWPORT, Tenn. (WVLT) -- With six cases of extreme animal abuse in just over a month, an eight-week-old puppy is the latest example of cruelty in Cocke County.
Brother Wolf Animal Rescue
The puppy was transferred over to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, who recently said that the puppy is recovering.
WVLT News spoke with Friends Animal Shelter of Cocke County Director Elisha Henry on Thursday.
Henry tells us the dog they've named Hope was found in a trash bag outside of a Newport restaurant. She says it is becoming more common for people to abandon animals outside of highly visible, public places.
Hope's tongue and ear were burnt so severely she will likely have to have pieces of both surgically removed. She has burns over 60 percent of her body.
Henry said the puppy was adopted out by a Cocke County local. Hope is now eating and was scheduled for surgery Friday.
"I literally sat at my desk and cried for half an hour and I called her Hope, because that's what she needed. She needed Hope," Henry said.
Henry took over as shelter director in early 2019. With a new staff in place, she knew Hope needed help. Friends Animal Shelter has been working closely with Brother Wolf Animal Rescue from Asheville, North Carolina. Hope was transferred to their facility on Wednesday. She is staying with Brother Wolf's veterinarian, receiving 24-hour care.
Brother Wolf's shelter director, Audrey Lodato tells us because Hope is so young, they expect her recovery time to be fairly short. For now, the burns on Hope's tongue make it impossible for her to eat or drink without the help of a dropper.
On March 14, the rescue said that over 150 people had contributed to a prayer blanket for hope. "Hope is already enjoying cuddling up with her wonderful new blanket while she recovers," the rescue said.
After seeing posts on social media about Hope, a man contacted the shelter saying he recently had a pet pass away and as a result, he wants to make sure Hope never has to suffer again. The shelters have a good relationship with the man and think the two will make a great fit for each other.
Friends Animal Shelter of Cocke County has seen numerous cases of extreme abuse. One dog had been stabbed with a pitchfork and left for dead. Another had been tied to a tree and shot at point-blank range.
"Gut-wrenching. It was horrible. He was clearly a bait dog," Henry said as she spoke about Keys, the dog stabbed by a pitchfork. "But he's sweet as sugar. I don't understand how a dog can go through all that and still love people."
Henry said one of the reasons for an increase in animal abuse is because Cocke County does not have an animal control officer. That leaves deputies to patrol for crime and animal abuse.
"It's a lot to ask of them to manage all humans and animals as well," she said.
Henry added that the Sheriff is looking to hire an animal control officer and is expecting to within the next month.
Both Henry and Lodato say one of the easiest ways to stop animal abuse is to report it. If you see something that looks or sounds out of the ordinary to call a shelter or police. You can make anonymous reports. Lodato tells WVLT that many times people think other people will report issues when in reality, you may be the only advocate an animal has.
We reached out to the Sheriff to see if any of these dog owners are being charged. We have not heard back as of Friday afternoon.