Police: Teens shot dog, tied her to railroad tracks

TAMPA BAY -- Police have arrested a pair of teenagers in last week's shooting of a young pit bull mix that was left for dead.

The 17-year-olds face aggravated animal cruelty and armed trespassing charges after tying the hound, now named Cabela, to railroad tracks and shooting her multiple times.

Surveillance video from the area showed a group of individuals walking the dog along the tracks in the city's Sulphur Springs neighborhood before later running away, said Detective Patrick Messmer.

Neighbors heard gunshots and police were called.

Cabela was purchased to be used in dog fighting, but she wasn't any good at it so they wanted to get rid of her, according to Messmer.

"This appears to be an isolated incident," he said. "It doesn't appear that there was a large amount of dog fighting that goes on in the neighborhood."

On the mend

On March 5, police found Cabela tightly tied to the tracks and shot three times -- twice in the neck and once in the shoulder.

"Nothing gets you ready ... to see a dog -- a helpless animal -- tied so tight to a railroad track around the neck that it's literally pinned down," said Sgt. Rich Mills, who freed her. "She was literally pinned down. She could not get away even if she tried."

Once freed, Mills rushed Cabela to Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency Center.

Initially, it was thought the young dog would have to her right front leg amputated because the damage was so severe, but a metal rod was inserted and she's recovering.

In fact, Cabela's already walking on her repaired leg. Rehabilitation will take four to six weeks, according to Dr. Jamie Davidson.

Donations started pouring in once word of the injured pup got out.

"A little overwhelming, but really touching that so many strangers were willing to help Cabela, from all around the world," said Davidson. Donations have ranged from $20 to several hundred dollars and came from as far away as Germany and England.


The teens in the case were identified by police from the surveillance video. One of them has a lengthy record and was already known to authorities.

Messmer says other arrests are possible.