Owner Tied Puppy’s Snout Shut So Tight It Needs $1900 Surgery

By Richard Szabo

A Labrador puppy will need to have up to $1900 in reconstructive surgery because a Utah woman tied the young dog’s muzzle shut for weeks, say authorities.

Shadow’s snout suffered severe damage after her owner Murray resident Alexis Callen, 19, forced it shut with a hair tie because the dog would not “stop whining.”

The Daily Mirror reported Callen confessed to tying the 4-month-old dog for about two days. The admission came after the woman previously accused a neighbor of tying the dog’s muzzle shut.

Callen raised suspicions when she posted images of Shadow’s injuries on social media, explaining she had to find a new home for the animal because she could not pay for the veterinary expenses required for a full recovery.

“My puppy got hurt badly and I don’t have the expenses to pay for her to go to the vet to get stitches, so I’m here to rehome her,” she said on a Facebook post captured by the Mirror before it was removed. “She’s a Lab German Shepard mix. Private message me for information, also anyone who bashes on me will be blocked from talking to me.”

When Callen was asked how Shadow could suffer such serious injuries, the pet owner initially tried to blame her neighbor for not using a muzzle when the dog would not “stop whining.”

“I had to make an emergency trip to see my family so I had someone in my complex watch her,” Callen said on Facebook according to the Mirror. “When I got back her snout was tied shut and swollen, I tried to do what I could to help her but I don’t have the expenses to pay for her to get stitches or healed properly.”

Unsatisfied with Callen’s response, rescue workers reported the woman to the authorities, and she was charged with animal cruelty.

“Thanks to the quick action of the Murray animal control officers, an arrest has been made on felony animal abuse charges,” Celestial Zoo Pet Rescue said on Facebook. “We are thrilled at the quick action and hope that justice is found.”

Shadow has since taken refuge at the zoo’s animal shelter in Eagle Mountain, 41 miles south of Salt Lake City. The shelter has since started fundraising to help pay for the dog’s surgery bill.

“Her surgery is estimated between $1700 [and] $1900, depending on how much they have to do when they get in there,” the shelter said on Facebook. “Shadow has her surgery scheduled, she will have her surgery at Blue Pearl where they will repair the damage to her muzzle.”

The shelter expects it to take two weeks before Shadow fully recovers.

“She will need to have only soft foods and no chew toys, which is going to be so hard for a puppy,” Celestial Zoo said.

So far the appeal has raised at least $1,680 and only has $220 to go.

“We still need donations for her reconstruction surgery on her wounds,” the shelter said. “Donations can be called in under Shadow with Celestial Zoo at 801-871-0600 or to our PayPal [account] at celestialzooutah@gmail.com”

Veterinarians temporarily put Shadow’s head in a cone until she receives the medical attention.

The shelter is confident Shadow will be able to lead a normal life after the procedure.

“She still has a long road and surgeries ahead of her but she’s expected to make a full recovery,” Celestial Zoo said. “We appreciate all of the support.”