HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla - Two year old Phoebe is at Hillsborough County Animal Services recovering from two gunshot wounds the head. When investigators found her October 29, she was also buried up to her neck in the backyard of an abandoned home in the Palm River area.
Ever since, authorities have been looking for the person who pulled the trigger. Slowing down the investigation is a photograph that is popping up across the internet. It shows a dog who looks like Phoebe being abused and then buried alive.
The physical similarity between how the dogs look and what happened to them is eerily similar, but they are unrelated.
"It's a similar story," explained Pam Perry, an investigator with Hillsborough County Animal Services. "A similar, sick, heinous act."
It is not clear where the internet photo was taken or it is it even real. Still, with the similarities between the photo and Phoebe, Perry and other staff members are fielding dozens of phone calls and emails.
"I do not think this is a copy cat situation. Absolutely not," Perry added.
Perry said even if the photo on the internet was staged it is still sick.
Perry feels the internet photo is dong nothing more than detracting from what is most important, finding out who in our community committed such a heinous crime.
There is also worry that more animals in the Palm River area could be experiencing abuse.
"There are other animals in that community that could be suffering from the same thing she [Phoebe] went through right now," she said.
Perry has reached out to block leaders and community activists in the neighborhood Phoebe was found. She is hoping a grassroots effort to educate people on how to care for animals and what is appropriate will prevent something like this happening in the future.
As for Phoebe, she is doing well. She has gained weight and loves being around people.
Dozens of adoption applications have already been submitted for Phoebe, but it will be a couple months before she is able to go to her forever home. According to Perry, all applications will be considered but there will be a thorough screening process to ensure Phoebe goes to a loving and safe home.
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