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No charges filed in case of shot, blind dog

Contributed photo Amara, a dog found shot and starving in Townville, is getting emergency medical treatment in western North Carolina.
Contributed photo Amara, a dog found shot and starving in Townville, is getting emergency medical treatment in western North Carolina. The Independent Mail

The Anderson County Sheriff's Office announced late Tuesday that no charges will be filed in the case of Amara, the dog who was blinded by gunshot wounds to the head.

Lt. Sheila Cole said that the dog's owner was found after recent media coverage of Amara's case caused someone to send a tip to an investigator. Amara, a 2-year-old boxer, was found as a stray Jan. 28 on Mystic Cove Lane in Townville, significantly underweight and with sores on her head.

Cole said Tuesday that a magistrate determined no charges would be filed against Amara's owner, whose name has not been made public. Cole said the owner told investigators he shot the dog because Amara was aggressive and had bitten his wife. The owner also told investigators he tried to give the dog away before deciding to euthanize her, Cole said.

The owner said he checked Amara for a heartbeat after he shot her, according to Cole. When he couldn't find one, he believed she was dead.

Cole said the owner's name has not been made public because no charges of mistreatment were brought against him.

The identity of the magistrate who heard details of the case has also not been made public.

Wayne Brennessel, the executive director of the Humane Society of South Carolina, called what happened to Amara "absolutely reprehensible."

"I don't understand how anyone could hear what happened to her and then say: 'Oh, you shot your dog in the head? Oh, OK. No charges,'" he said.

Brennessel acknowledged that South Carolina could have much tougher laws regarding animal mistreatment. But even under the state's existing laws, Brennessel said, the case could have been considered "an extreme case of animal cruelty."

"If you have a difficult situation with your dog, there are so many other options besides taking it into your own hands to kill her," he said. "Call an animal-services organization and let them help you."

Amara was initially taken to Anderson County's animal shelter, Pets Are Worth Saving, before being released to a rescue organization several days ago.

Jessica Cwynar, the shelter's director, said anyone with aggressive pets can contact the shelter for help.

"We know how to work with animals with behavioral problems," she said. "We know how to handle those issues. And if it really does turn out that nothing can be done to help that animal's behavior, we can humanely euthanize them. What happened to Amara doesn't have to happen. Don't be afraid to reach out for help."

Amara is in the care of Heidi Wagner, founder of Boxer Butts & Other Mutts, a nonprofit rescue in western North Carolina. Wagner sought emergency medical treatment for Amara at Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital in Flat Rock, North Carolina, where she was in intensive care for several days. X-rays revealed that Amara had been shot at least twice. Wagner could not be reached Tuesday night.

Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper did not respond to multiple requests for comment about Amara's case Tuesday night.

Follow Nikie Mayo on Twitter @NikieMayo

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