Yellow Lab Found Alive in a Ditch Weeks after Being Shot, Beaten with a Hammer

Injured yellow lab lays in a ditch

A yellow lab was found shot, beaten in the head with a hammer, and left for dead in a ditch where it lay paralyzed for weeks near Farmington, Missouri, KSDK reported.

Animal rescuers said the dog, "Trooper," had no food and nothing to drink but rainwater for "several weeks" before it was rescued.

They claim it is the worst case of animal abuse they've ever seen. Yet, amazingly enough, the man who so brutally abused the dog openly admitted it. "He didn't feel bad about hitting the dog in the head with a hammer," one of the rescuers said.

Animal rescue volunteer Katrina Campbell said people driving by saw the dog lift his head up, so they brought him back food and water and then realized he couldn’t move.

"As soon as I saw Trooper, I fell to my knees, I could not believe the condition of this dog,” she told KSDK.

The poor animal was covered in feces and urine, which had burned through his flesh.

“It was almost like lifting a carcass, there was nothing to him," Campbell said. “I just asked him to give me some sort of sign that he wasn't ready to give up. 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.”

At first, the animal rescuers thought a car had hit Trooper, incapacitating him. Then they discovered that someone had shot and paralyzed him.

Campbell gave a medical update on Facebook:

Trooper had his MRI today and saw the neurologist. There is fluid and some scar tissue in his sinus cavity, most likely as a result of the hammer blow to his head. His brain appears normal and healthy, uninjured. You can see a “dent” in his skull from where the hammer hit him but luckily there is no permanent damage from the hammer blow to his head.

We know the gun shot caused his paralysis based on the information recovered during our investigation. It appears the bullet entered his body and traveled between his shoulder blades where it came to rest just before reaching his spinal cord, it is not putting pressure on his spinal cord.

However, the IMPACT from the bullet hitting Trooper has caused damage to part of the spinal cord, causing his paralysis. Unfortunately, this type of damage cannot be fixed with surgery and it is unlikely that he will walk again. The neurologist said at this point there is a less than 5% chance he will walk again. However we all know Trooper doesn’t give up, so we aren’t giving up either. He does still have feeling in his back legs which leaves us hopeful that physical therapy may help, although we have been advised that it is still unlikely he will have full function and control of his back end.

"It is definitely the worst one I have dealt with in this rescue," said Mandy Ryan, a rescuer with Missouri K-9 Friends. Ryan also posted pictures of the injured dog on her Facebook page:

She said she was able to track down the man who had brutally abused the dog.

“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.

“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. I shot that dog and I hit him in the head with a hammer.”

Because charges have not yet been filed, 5 On Your Side did not release the man's name. But the women have provided information to local deputies to investigate.

According to KCTV 5,  the St. Francois County Prosecutor’s Office said they "expect to get a report from deputies by end of the week or early next week." Then the Prosecutor's Office will decide whether or not to file charges. One has to assume this one's a slam dunk.

Ryan told KSDK that no living thing deserves this treatment, and she hopes justice will be served.

As for the aptly-named Trooper, she said "he's a fighter" who has come a long way in just a week.

“The fact that he didn't die that first night is completely a miracle,” she said.

Trooper is paralyzed, but he is making progress at an animal hospital. Ryan said he is eating on his own and his catheter has been removed.

A fundraiser has been set for Trooper at Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (UCBC) in St. Louis on March 9, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. UCBC is donating a percentage of the proceeds to Missouri K9 Friends.

On Facebook, Ryan is also raising money for Missouri K9 Friends.

For my birthday this year, I'm asking for donations to Missouri K9 Friends. I've chosen this nonprofit because I pretty much dedicate my life to MKF and what we are about, and I hope you'll consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me. Every little bit will help me reach my goal.

Trooper may have a long road to recovery, but he should have no trouble finding a home, as they already have 20 adoption applications and counting.