WASHINGTON - What happened to one 8-month old pit bull puppy is a crime punishable by jail time.
Tuesday night, a motorist saw something thrown from a moving car. It was a garbage bag and when it landed, out popped the muzzle of an 8-month-old pit bull terrier puppy.
The horrified driver stopped and called police. The dog was taken to the Prince George's County Animal Services Facility, assessed, and then handed over to Mutts Matter Rescue.
The little dog was underweight, and its feet were reportedly soaked with urine. But Deputy Chief Terry Littlejohn, with the Prince George's County Animal Control Division, says the puppy has another issue: Its feet are splayed outwards, which may be the result of malnourishment and his past living conditions.
The puppy is reportedly a shy guy, but sweet, and Mutts Matter quickly christened him Hershey (Kisses). While Mutts Matter will focus on his future, and getting Hershey socialized and ready for adoption, investigators will try to learn about the puppy's past.
Littlejohn says her officers are already out in the community trying to see what they can find out about the little dog.
Hershey was tossed from a car near the intersection of Westphalia and Richie Marlboro Road in Upper Marlboro. Littlejohn says if the person responsible is found, he or she likely would be prosecuted for cruelty.
If the suspect is charged under state laws, which carry stiffer penalties, the suspect could be looking at jail time and fines.
"That person could spend 90 days in jail and pay a fine of $100 or it could be up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine," Littlejohn says.
If the charge is escalated to an "egregious case of cruelty" -- like that of the person who killed a small dog by setting it on fire -- Littlejohn says the punishment could be a three-year jail term.
"It's just a matter of finding the person who did it," Littlejohn says.
The Humane Society of the United States also is involved, and has put up a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the conviction of the person responsible for the incident.
Photos of Hershey are available from Mutts Matter Rescue.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
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