WALDOBORO, Maine — A young black Lab who was shot with as many as 100 BBs was adopted Tuesday and is “super happy,” staff at the Lincoln County Animal Shelter said Thursday.
Waldoboro Police Chief Bill Labombarde is determined to find out who left the abandoned pup in such a condition.
Lady — so named by her new owner, Peter Blanton of South Bristol — was found by Waldoboro Animal Control Officer Laurice Ducharme near Orffs Corner 10 days ago and was taken to the Lincoln County Animal Shelter in Edgecomb, according to Carrie Koskela, shelter officer manager.
Initially the dog showed no signs of mistreatment, although shelter attendants were curious about what looked like bug bites or dog acne on her nose.
When Blanton expressed interest in adopting the Lab, Lady was taken to the Boothbay Animal Hospital to be spayed.
Veterinarian Dean Domeyer discovered 80 to 100 BBs on X-rays.
“This dog is riddled with BB shots from her nose to her tail,” said Koskela.
Blanton said that when he met Lady, “It was love at first sight.”
Blanton visited several animal shelters last Friday, a week after he and his wife put their 8-year-old Lab to sleep, because he missed having a dog in the house, he said Thursday. At the Lincoln County shelter, he said, “All the other dogs were jumping up and down and making loud noises, but [Lady] was looking at me, her paw in her eyes, and she had her ears up trying to figure out who I was. Something about her movements reminded me of our old dog.”
Blanton said that when he saw the X-rays, Lady “looked like something out of a war movie.”
He said his new dog is fortunate because, although her body and face — even her eyelids — are covered with scars from the BBs, her eyes were spared and the vet told him no vital organs were hit.
While the vet originally planned not to remove the BBs because that process would be more traumatic than leaving them in, Blanton said that after concerns were raised that the BBs might be made of lead, the vet will remove a few from the dog’s snout to examine them.
Chief Labombarde said a detective and patrol officer from his department are following up on leads and hope to resolve the case soon.
“We are investigating it enthusiastically,” Labombarde said. “We’re putting quite a bit of manpower into it to try to get this thing resolved as quickly as we can.”
A former animal control officer and dog lover, Labombarde said that in more than 20 years of police work he has never seen a case like this.
“It is one of our priority cases,” he said.
Blanton said he doesn’t understand who would have shot a dog with a BB gun, but wants to make sure it doesn’t happen to another canine.
“I feel very fortunate that we got a wonderful dog and she’ll be OK, but I don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” he said. “I assume the person [who shot Lady] had a problem – I don’t know what it was, but I hope they can figure out how to handle their problems and that they don’t do this again.”
Koskela said the story does have “a really good ending. [Lady] is super happy, and her new owner loves her dearly.”