Shelter dogs left bloody after break-in, dog-fighting attack suspected

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — An Arksnsas animal shelter is devastated and angry after they say someone targeted their dogs in an overnight attack, and it’s not the first time.

Early Wednesday morning, employees at the Humane Society of the Delta say they showed up to find a bloodbath.

"You could hear the fighting," said care and operations manager Reta Merritt.

Eight dogs had been released from their pens, and some thrown into pens with other dogs.

Shelter workers believe whoever did it brought their own dogs along and used the shelter pups as “bait” to practice dog fighting.

"They have feelings, they have everything just what like we do," Merritt said, "And to know that somebody literally went in deliberately is just mean."

Almost every dog was hurt, but Rubio – a hound mix who’s at least 10 years old – got the worst of it.

"He probably has 20-plus puncture wounds in his head, his throat, his back," Merritt said. "On his side, he’s got a hole about the size of a quarter that you can see in."

Five years ago, several dogs were hurt in a similar incident. And in 2016, three dogs were killed the same way.

No one was ever arrested.

"It was just reliving that whole horrible experience again," said shelter president Gloria Higginbotham. "When we got here, there were our dead dogs laying all over the property."

She said people donated money for security cameras after the last attack, but someone broke in and stole them before they could be installed.

Merritt said the veterinarian caring for Rubio isn't sure if he will survive.

"I don’t guess I get as angry as I get sad about it," she said.

Shelter workers tell WREG the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, but they have little hope whoever did this will ever be caught.

Higginbotham said installing a security system is a top priority to keep the dogs safe, but they can't afford it.

If you'd like to donate to the Humane Society of the Delta, visit their website http://www.humanesocietyofthedelta.org/.