It was a happy moment for a woman after she bought a dog as a Christmas present for her family. But the joy soon faded away when she sensed a putrid smell coming from the dog. Discovering the cause of the smell, she quickly called the police.
In 2016, Kelly Benzel, from Fond du Lac, was looking to buy a dog as a Christmas gift for her family. When she saw a social media advertisement for Rocco, a white pit bull mix, she knew that he would make the right pet for her family.
“My heart broke because he’s a white dog and he looks very dingy and obviously didn’t look cared for,” Benzel told USA Today.
But when Benzel was on her way back home, after purchasing the dog, she noticed an unpleasant smell coming from Rocco. When she checked on her pet carefully, she was appalled to discover that Rocco’s harness was actually hiding a disturbing sight—an infected gash on the underside that measured 6 inches long and 1.5 inches deep.
She quickly drove to a veterinarian clinic to get him immediate medical care and later called the police.
“I just want justice to be served for Rocco. This type of behavior should not go unpunished,” she explained her actions for calling the police.
According to Fond du Lac Reporter, the previous owners, Amy Shaw and Daniel Eisenach, were later charged with mistreatment of animals/causing death, while Amanda Muellenbach, the person who placed the advertisement, was charged with hiding or aiding a felon. Each of them were given a US$1,500 signature bond.
Mullenbach and the two previous owners had told Benzel that they would pay for Rocco’s medical costs if she didn’t call the police. Shaw and Eisenach told police that they couldn’t take off his harness because they couldn’t catch Rocco in their backyard, according to Fond du Lac Reporter.
A friend of Benzel later created a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Rocco’s medical cost.
On Oct. 20, 2017, Mullenbach was sentenced to two years probation and two days in jail. The previous owners were given a sentence of two years probation, with Shaw receiving five days in jail and Eisenach receiving 30 days in jail.
“Sometimes the defendant receives jail time, and sometimes they don’t,” Eric Toney, district attorney for Fond du Lac County, explained the sentence. “In this case, all the defendants involved received some jail time. The state recommended 15 to 30 days for all three, but the court looks at each case individually to figure out what fits.”
For Benzel, she was glad to see the abusers being sentenced. “I was victorious in the end, however, as I have Rocco in my life. He’s safe, warm, taken care of and is loved so very much,” she said.
Though Rocco had a rough start in life, he is fortunate to meet his new owner who, for sure, loves him dearly!