A 67-year-old man was sentenced to 38 days in jail after pleading guilty to a single felony count of animal cruelty for tightly wrapping rubber bands around a puppy’s mouth, causing a severe injury, county animal services officials said Friday.
Brian Patrick Murphy of Desert Hot Springs also faces three years of formal probation and cannot own an animal for 10 years, Riverside County Department of Animal Services officials said.
A separate criminal case was pending against the owner of the 8-month-old puppy, Raquel Mims.
Officials at Animal Samaritans SPCA alerted authorities after J.R. Sheltraw, a doctor with the non-profit shelter, saw the animal and suspected abuse, county officials said.
“The initial exam revealed a visible rubber band wrapped around the muzzle for which I removed with a hemostat,” Sheltraw wrote in a letter to county officials. “However this did not relieve the pressure since I discovered after further examination there was a second rubber band around the muzzle, removal of this particular rubber band was causing the puppy severe pain.”
The puppy suffered necrosis around his mouth, meaning the skin squeezed by the rubber band was dead, leaving a deep gouge. Doctors also found that the dog’s tongue was lacerated, county officials said.
Although, Mims sought treatment for the dog, she was charged for allegedly waiting so long and allowing the injuries to become so severe, county officials said.
“These types of injuries do not happen overnight,” said animal services Lt. Luis Rosa, who helped bring the case.
Mims surrendered ownership of the puppy and the dog was adopted by a family in Yucca Valley.