A Middleboro man is due in court next month to face felony animal cruelty charges after authorities discovered that his emaciated dog had chewed off half its foot in a desperate effort to free himself from a tether that had been twisted around his legs for days, if not weeks.
Kevin Kennedy is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 18 in Wareham District Court on one count of animal cruelty for neglect and failure to pursue necessary veterinary care for his 2-year-old German shepherd, Maverick, authorities said.
“This was not a dog who had a lot of love,” said Rob Halpin, an MSPCA-Angell spokesman. “This ranks up there with some of the worst cases we’ve seen.”
MSPCA Law Enforcement Officer Chelsea Weiand seized Maverick on July 12 after the Middleboro animal control officer discovered the dog and rushed him to a nearby animal clinic, where he was sedated so veterinarians could clean the severe wound to his right rear foot.
He was 15 pounds underweight, unneutered and undersocialized, Halpin said, “and, more alarmingly, his other legs were covered with rope burns and scars, which is indicative of him being trapped in his own tether multiple times.”
Weiand took Maverick to the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston for ongoing treatment.
“Clearly he had been entangled by his own leash many times in the past,” she said. “Unfortunately, he was unable to free himself this last time.”
An injury such as Maverick’s would typically be addressed by amputating the entire leg. But Dr. Mike Pavletic, Angell’s head of surgery, said the dog’s hips are also compromised, taking that treatment option off the table.
“His pelvic dysplasia has advanced to the stage that he simply wouldn’t be able to walk if we took his leg off,” he said.
Using a technique he developed years ago, Pavletic instead will reconstruct a functional foot for Maverick by rotating what remains of his foot pad and repositioning it over the most weight-bearing part of the foot.
“This is the only option before us that ensures Maverick’s foot can sustain normal wear and tear,” he said. “He will get a second chance for a normal and pain-free life — and if any dog deserves that, it’s Maverick.”
Marie Szaniszlo for Boston Herald
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