Sometime before 2 a.m. on January 5th, a sealed contractor bag was tied to a fencepost in Conroe, Texas. When a local resident passed it ten hours later, he realized the bag was moving. He stopped, and upon opening the bag found an approximately 60-lb. mixed breed dog, covered in blood. Knowing that Tami Augustyn, just up the road, was an animal lover and amateur rescuer, he called her.
When Tami got there, the dog was barely moving or breathing. With all the blood, at first she thought this was a “bait” dog – a dog used to train fight dogs; then she realized that what she was seeing were buckshot wounds covering his face, chest, neck, eyes, and in his mouth. She loaded him up and took him to the Animal Emergency Clinic of Conroe. When he arrived there his body temp was dangerously low from being out all night in the cold, bleeding out in the bag.
At the clinic he was stabilized, cleaned up, medicated and monitored for the next 24 hours. Augustyn had a problem, though; adequate treatment for this 3 yr. old dog, who she has named Buck, particularly any attempt to save his eyesight, was going to be way beyond her means… so she took his plight to Facebook, and launched the page Buck Needs Bucks for his Buckshot Injuries, to help pay for the dog’s estimated $5,000-$7,000 in medical bills.
In the meantime, she couldn’t afford a second night at the clinic for him, so she brought him home Sunday evening, with medications he needed every two hours. While he seemed to have some limited vision, he was very reluctant to walk, possibly due to deep tissue bruising or just plain, old fear of being hurt again. Reading through Tami’s posts on the Facebook page, you can see her going from desperately hoping for some help to amazed as Buck’s story went viral and was picked up by European newspapers and CNN.
“The last 24 hours has been overwhelming for me,” Augustyn wrote on the page. “I have gone from not knowing if I would have enough money to pay for Buck’s emergency bill to having an unbelievable amount of money to provide THE BEST care possible for Buck’s recovery. I have thought long and hard about this today and how I should handle this. The conclusion is that I will be opening a separate bank account for Buck and all donations will channel thru that account and be used for Buck’s recovery and necessities.”
On Tuesday Buck was taken to North Houston Veterinary Specialists, where he was evaluated by the veterinary surgeon who specializes in damage to the eyes. He determined that surgery would be needed to remove pellets and other trauma debris, and repair damage to the corneas, one of the most sensitive organs in the body. Dr. Rainvow said the pain that Buck is experiencing would put a human in a fetal position. The initial surgery was yesterday.
As one would expect, offers have also poured in to adopt Buck, but for now he will remain with Tami. She has said that she wishes that everyone who has offered him a home would instead go to their local shelter and adopt a homeless animal there. “They can name it “Buck Junior,” she added.
As of today, donations have reached a point where Tami is going forward with establishing The Buck Foundation, which she hopes to use to support care for abandoned/abused animals, pet owner education, and a great deal more. Details are posted on the Bucks for Buck Facebook page.
For those who have a burning desire for justice for Buck: Tim Hollifield, the Animal Cruelty Officer for Montgomery County is actively investigating the case. The bag Buck was found in is currently being fingerprinted for any matches.
There have been offers of contributions to a reward fund, although details are not available at this time. Anyone with information on who did this to Buck can contact Crime Stoppers of Montgomery County, or Montgomery County Animal Control.