MURPHYSBORO -- No matter how bad the photos look, veterinarian Kay Creese said there is no comparison to the smell emanating from a little bundle of fur that is now recovering from multiple surgeries at St. Francis Animal Rescue and Education in Murphysboro.
"He smelled of rotting flesh," said Creese, struggling to keep the contempt from her voice. "
The small black and white bundle of fur has been named Wyatt, and his story has brought to light the fact that animal abuse does happen everywhere, including in our own backyard.
"I've been here 10 years," said Creese. "This is the worst case I've seen."
According to Creese, Wyatt, along with two other dogs, was surrendered by his owner to animal control in Carbondale last Friday, Jan. 3. He was then brought to the Humane Society where he remained until Monday until a volunteer asked Creese if St. Francis could take him.
Creese said that Wyatt went immediately to surgery where a rubber band was removed from his face.
"I removed three bone fragments from his lower jaw that were embedded with rubber bands," she said.
Creese added that he was in such terrible shape it was unclear if there were two separate bands or one that was doubled over.
Wyatt was also underweight and severely dehydrated.
Creese believes he had been wearing the rubber bands for at least two weeks.
"This dog didn't need to have this happen," she said. "This was a deliberate attempt to hurt him."
Wyatt's story has generated multiple media exposures as well as over 2,000 hits and hundreds of comments and shares on the St. Francis Facebook page.
"We're starting a kind of campaign," said Creese. "If you see abuse, there are people you need to call. Hopefully these people will get the calls and respond to them."
Creese is adamant that someone should be held accountable for what happened to Wyatt.
"There are laws that need to be enforced," she said. "It needs to happen in this case. This needs to be a felony."
Carbondale police are investigating the situation.
According to Deputy Chief of Police Stan Reno, the owners of the dogs contacted the city's animal control officer and said they wanted to surrender the dogs because they didn't feel they had the means to care for them.
"We're finishing our investigation," said Reno. He said those findings would be handed over to the city attorney for review.
"That office will make a determination if charges will be filed or the case will be forwarded to the state's attorney," said Reno.
In the meantime, Creese said that Wyatt is wanting to be held and loved.
"He curls up in my lap," she said. "He feels safe here."
Creese said he will need at least two more surgeries, including neutering, before he is ready for adoption. She said there have been over 100 applications showing interest but it will be at least two months before Wyatt is ready for such a move.