A Foresthill man suspected of beating his dog, shooting it in the face, tying it to a tree and leaving it to die has been charged with felony animal cruelty.
The little terrier mix, which has been renamed Frankie, was found by a group of campers Sept. 14 near Foresthill after they heard him whimpering for two days.
In addition to having been beaten, the dog had been shot in the face multiple times with a pellet gun. His jaw was broken with parts of the bone missing, and the toes on one foot were broken.
The dog was taken to a veterinarian in the Bay Area and was traced to Scooter’s Pals, a Nevada County “last chance” rescue organization that had microchipped Frankie about six months before adopting him out.
After a lengthy investigation by Placer County Animal Control, the Placer County District Attorney’s Office has filed a felony complaint against Mark Steven Pope, aka “Redneck” Pope, charging him with one count of animal cruelty.
Pope is set to be arraigned in Roseville on March 4.
Susan Wallace, founder of Scooter’s Pals, said Pope adopted the dog, named Butch at the time, from her organization about eight months before the shooting.
“Normally we do home checks, and we try to get vet references,” Wallace said.
“I don’t believe we had (a vet reference) on him, we did do a home check, and we got a reference locally that he loved dogs. We felt pretty good about it.”
Pope had called the volunteer who facilitated the adoption and told her he was having trouble potty-training the dog, Wallace said. She offered to take the dog back, but he refused, Wallace said.
“We didn’t hear from him for a while,” she said. “Then I got a call from him about a week to 10 days prior to learning about the shooting. He left a message that he had had to put the dog down and that it had had a stroke and that he buried it.
“He called more than once, which made my alarm bells go off,” Wallace continued. “People don’t call to tell you they euthanized their dog.”
The adoption volunteer called him and Pope allegedly reiterated that he put the dog down.
“Then I get this call from a vet in Pinole .… but I still didn’t put it together,” Wallace said, adding that it wasn’t until she checked the chip number that she realized the vet was calling about Butch.
“I’m glad they’re prosecuting,” she said.
There already has been a happy ending for Frankie. After undergoing several surgeries and living with a foster mom in Grass Valley, he was adopted less than two weeks ago to a couple in Napa with three grandchildren who dote on him.
For more information on Frankie, visit his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Hope4Butch?ref=stream.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.