"Nothing really prepares you to see a helpless animal tied so tight to a railroad track that she is literally pinned down," stated Sgt Rich Mills.
Mills, a twenty year veteran of the Tampa Police Department and a military veteran was one of the first to respond to the call of shots fired on March 4 2015. Mills was part of a three unit response to the railroad tracks south of Busch Blvd in the Sulphur Springs area of Tampa FL and none of the officers were prepared for what Officer Gina Murphey found.
They found a year old pitbull mix shot in the neck and her right shoulder and tied to the railroad tracks with a belt. The dog they later named Cabela was lying in a pool of blood and tied down so tight she could have been secured like luggage on a roof rack. The officers stated that she didn't growl or bark when they approached or while they worked to free her. They assessed the scene and decided that they could not wait for animal control to arrive there, so they fashioned a muzzle and took her in a squad car for emergency care.
The officers also alerted CSX to the situation in case there were any incoming trains on that set of tracks.It was initially thought that Cabela would have to have her leg amputated but doctors at the Tampa Bay Emergency Veterinary Service were able to stitch her up and save the leg by inserting pins and a rod. Later in the week a couple stepped forward to state that they had previously owned Cabela but that she had either run off or was stolen from their backyard about four months ago. They did agree to put Cabela up for adoption after she heals.
The couple who lost Cabela later told the police that she had not run off...... they had originally purchased her for fighting but she had proved to be too gentle for it. They had given her away just a short time ago. The police meanwhile were hot on the trail of tracking down who had done this to such a sweet dog. A surveillance camera showed four men walking Cabela towards the tracks that day and first two leaving the scene and then the other two running away. A police officer was able to identify one of the men on the video and were able to get confessions from two of the suspects now in custody.
The police have announced today that on March 11 they have arrested four men involved in the shooting and abuse of Cabela. Darnell Devlin, 18 and Kenny Bell, 21, have been charged with possession of a fighting dog after a search of the home where Cabela was turned up two other fighting dogs with recent injuries as well as evidence of dog fighting in the backyard. Bobby Hollinger,17, was charged with aggravated animal cruelty and a trespassing charge from being on the tracks. Natwan Calloway, 17, the suspected shooter is facing an armed trespassing charge as well as the aggravated cruelty charge.
|K Bell, N Calloway, D Devlin & B Hollinger|
The police have stated that the men had gotten Cabela to fight and when she refused to do so, they wanted to get rid of her. They added that Hollinger first threw Cabela into the woods and she was shot at. Instead of running off or dying, Cabela ran back to their home and was found by the men sitting on the porch injured. The four then walked her back to the railroad tracks, tied her down and shot her again.
Cabela is doing surprisingly well and has not shown any signs of aggression even with everything she has gone through. It has been reported that she is doing very well since her surgery and has even been putting some weight on the injured leg now that it has been pinned. The hospital estimates that it will be several more weeks before she can even begin rehab and the plan is for her to be put up for adoption afterwards. Donations of money, sweaters and toys have been pouring in for her and it looks as though Cabela's life has suddenly gotten much brighter.