The story of a pit bull now known as Beefcakes is a crime — one for which Russell Middleton has been arrested.
However, the tale has a happy ending that reveals the compassion of the folks at the Longmont Humane Society, not to mention the generosity of plenty of folks in the community and beyond.
Earlier this month on LoveAnimals.org (a website variation on GoFundMe with an animal-centric focus), LHS reps began their account about Beefcakes like so:
On the evening of July 7, 2015 a concerned citizen alerted Boulder County Animal Control to the location of a stray dog wandering in an empty parking lot, stating that it appeared to have been badly hurt. The wounded dog, despite his compromised condition, offered an extremely friendly greeting to the responding officer. After arriving at Longmont Humane Society, the dog was sent directly to our veterinary clinic where our health care team discovered through an x-ray that he had in fact suffered a single gunshot to his head at close range.Here's that x-ray, with graphics pointing out the bullet's path and the damage it did:
The LoveAnimals.org post continues:
Amazingly, the dog had survived this brutal act. The bullet, which came to rest in his jaw, has fractured his jaw bone in multiple locations. We have named this extremely resilient boy Beefcakes. Beefcakes will now require surgery to remove the bullet and reconstruct his shattered jaw.
Longmont Humane Society is extremely grateful that Aspen Meadow Veterinary Specialists of Longmont, CO has stepped forward to perform Beefcakes’ lifesaving surgery. The specialized surgery, associated diagnostics and aftercare, while greatly discounted by Aspen Meadow, will still be costly and so we are asking for your help today!
Despite the trauma that he has endured, Beefcakes has a truly beautiful and happy spirit. This wonderful fellow is stealing the hearts of everyone he meets here at the shelter with his loving and outgoing nature.
Help us help this sweet and strong boy get the chance at the beautiful life he deserves. Your support today will help us give Beefcakes and others like him lifesaving care when they need it most!
Plenty of people responded to this appeal. At this writing, the $14,000 fundraising goal on the page has been exceeded by several hundred dollars thanks to an impressive 265 donations.
Beefcakes's surgery took place on July 13 — but that was only the beginning. A July 20 post notes that he has thus far undergone three operations and is currently stable. He was expected to be well enough to enter a foster home this week so that he could "begin the process of recovery."
Yesterday brought another update, this time from a very different source: the Boulder County Sheriff's Office.
According to the BCSO, numerous community members recognized Beefcakes from the photos posted by the humane society. These tips led them to Middleton, 38, who's identified as the dog's previous owner. He had named the animal Ice Tee.
The warrant issued for Middleton lists three felonies and one misdemeanor, with some of the most serious offenses linked to his criminal history. They include cruelty to animals, possession of weapons by a previous offender, violation of bail bond conditions, and violation of a protection order.
Here's a look at Middleton's booking photo. In it, he looks considerably less happy than does Beefcakes in the pic at the top of this post.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.