WAYCROSS, Ga. -- After witnessing a puppy being dragged by it's owner's vehicle, Waycross Police and Animal Control rushed to rescue the animal.
The Okefenokee Humane Society took in the dog and named her Liberty as she recovers from the violent ordeal.
Shelter Manager Danielle Barcomb has been with Liberty since she was rushed over on Sunday. She said officers told her the dog’s owner usually tied her to a tree, but this time he allegedly tied her to the back of his bumper.
"It was said that he had forgotten she was there, he loaded up his child, or a child with him, and took off driving forgetting that Liberty was tied and the child kept repeating daddy dog, dog," Barcomb said.
Barcomb said the owner is now facing animal cruelty charges.
"He went several blocks, dragging her," Barcomb said. "Extreme burns, road rash, all underneath her stomach and chest, all of her paw pads have been ripped off, she’s missing nails."
If convicted, the owner could face a fine or jail time. The owner is due in court on August 9.
He told police that he wasn't sure how the dog got tied up to the car.
“It is unclear how or who connected the dog to the vehicle," Captain Danny Hampton said. "The subject told officers he did not know how the dog become attached to the vehicle. He keeps him tethered to a tree.”
Dwayne Howell, the officer who responded, told First Coast News that he is just thankful she is okay because her injuries were so severe.
"She couldn’t keep up with the vehicle, and had given in, and was being [dragged] on this side of her body," Barcomb said.
Charlotte de la Vergne is on the board of trustees with the Humane Society and works as the videographer. She posted Liberty’s story online and immediately received an outpouring of support.
"Social media is wonderful, we would not be able to do what we do without Facebook," de la Vergne said.
She said, even with their low budget, they are now able to reach more people on social media, thus, save more lives.
"The euthanasia rate was 93%, now it’s well under 10%," she said.
De la Vergne said they deal with hundreds of animal cruelty cases.
"You know it’s unimaginable what happens to animals in this area," she said.
The Humane Society hopes this case, just like her new namesake, will send a strong message.
"It was princess, her name used to be princess, but we decided she needed a stronger name because she is brave and strong, like lady liberty," Barcomb said.
Barcomb said since this is still an open case, Liberty is not up for adoption right now, but anyone can go to their website and send a donation to help with her medical costs.
Barcomb said the costs have already added up to be $1,000 in veterinarian bills but they expect that number to climb rapidly and they don't have the funds to pay it themselves.