WARNING GRAPHIC: Man charged with animal torture - WNEM TV 5

WARNING GRAPHIC: Man charged with animal torture

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Photo provided by Sheriff Pickell Photo provided by Sheriff Pickell
GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A Mid-Michigan county has seen yet another case of animal abuse.

Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said his office was recently alerted of alleged animal abuse and torture in Mt. Morris Township. Pickell posted the graphic image of the dog on his Facebook page saying, “the photos below speak for themselves.”

“A pit bull/boxer was found with open wounds, other extensive injuries, and potential thermal or chemical burns,” Pickell wrote.

The dog was immediately given medical attention.

Pickell said the dog’s owner, Frederick Derrell Hurt, claimed he first noticed the injuries after the dog had spent the night in his fenced in back yard.

"That he let the dog out to go to the bathroom at about 2:30 in the morning on April 5, and the dog wouldn't return to the house," Pickell said.

Hurt admitted he did not immediately seek medical attention saying it was “just a dog,” Pickell said.

The dog is now blinded in one eye and has damage to the other eye. He is currently being treated, and once healed, will hopefully be adopted to a caring family.

Authorities said Hurt's story didn't add up so they charged him with one count of animal torture, a four-year felony.

Hurt is accused of using hot water or some sort of chemical to burn his dog.

WARNING GRAPHIC MATERIAL: The photos below were posted by Sheriff Robert Pickell on his Facebook page

The dog, now named Harvey Dent, is recovering with Adopt-A-Pet. Their Facebook page posted an update saying as Harvey started treatment for his burns, he broke out with Parvovirus, which can be deadly.

But after around the clock care he appears to be through the worst, according to the Facebook post. He is being cared for by a Vet Tech who is helping him to learn to navigate after losing most or all of his sight.

They report Harvey is cautiously happy, scared of new things, but as soon as someone talks to him his tail wags his whole body.

"He is resilient. For a dog to be in the condition he was in and for us to be able to pick him up and for him not to cry or whine or snap or yelp is amazing," said Renea Kennedy, deputy director for the Genesee County Animal Control.

So what's the next step? His skin needs to continue to heal since some of the burns were very deep. He will need to have one eye removed and will need to see an eye specialist for the other. It will be a few months before he is ready for his forever home.

The push for stricter punishments

In March, a Genesee County man and woman were charged with animal abuse in the death of a 7-year-old Shih-Tzu named Dakota.

Pickell is pushing for stricter punishments in cases that involve animals and pets.

Read more about that case here

Epidemic of animal abuse

Officials say Michigan has an epidemic of animal abuse on its hands.

Horrifying headlines of beloved pets being abused, tortured and killed appear virtually every week.

Read our I-Team Report: Animal abuse epidemic, here

>>Slideshow: Mid-Michigan mug shots<<

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