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Help sought in animal cruelty case

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By The Staff

Animal Protection of New Mexico is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to  an arrest and prosecution in a disturbing extreme animal cruelty case.

The Albuquerque-based group issued a news release this week highlighting the case of “Fonzi,” a 7-9-year-old male terrier mix found near Armijo Elementary School with a chain around his neck on May 20. The dog had to be euthanized eight days later because of serious health issues resulting from years of abuse and neglect.

“Whoever had been responsible for his care over the years failed Fonzi terribly and were most likely aware he needed veterinary care, but did not provide it,” Las Vegas police Sgt. Kenneth Stumberg said. “This sort of extreme neglect is inexcusable, and we hope the public will come forward with tips to help us locate whoever is responsible.”

Animal Cruelty of New Mexico is asking anyone with information that can help bring those responsible to justice to call the Attorney General’s Animal Cruelty Task Force at 877-548-6263. According to the organization, callers may remain anonymous.

Extreme animal cruelty is a fourth-degree felony in New Mexico.

According to the organization, Fonzi weighed 9 pounds, despite the fact that his ideal weight should have been between 15 and 18 pounds.

“His eyes were completely matted over with fur, so Fonzi was unable to see,” the news release states. “The matting was carefully removed, revealing a deep infection, maggots, peeling skin and scarring to his eyes.”

The release also notes that half of Fonzi’s body was bald, with paper-thin skin, liver spots, skin growths, large exposed wounds and sunburn. The dog had injuries to most of his feet and an infected leg.

After Fonzi was found, he underwent emergency veterinary treatment and was given IV fluids and antibiotics.

“Unfortunately, further examination revealed the dog’s prognosis was very poor: Fonzi began having grand mal seizures, which increased in frequency, length and severity,” the release states. “An X-ray of his abdomen revealed two very large masses, and he became increasingly less responsive.”

Fonzi’s caretakers decided to euthanize him on May 28 to end his suffering.

Referring to the chain found around Fonzi’s neck, Animal Protection of New Mexico notes that the practice of chaining a dog is illegal in Las Vegas.

Chaining a dog is a violation of the city’s anti-tethering ordinance, which went into effect in February 2013.