The owner of a German shepherd that chewed off its own foot after suffering an injury in a Westminster backyard faces up to a year in jail for animal abuse.
Samer Samir Ibrahim, 23, is expected to be arraigned Thursday on one misdemeanor count of keeping an animal without proper care and one misdemeanor of animal abuse by a caretaker after allegedly neglecting his German shepard, Rocky, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors also allege Rocky contracted fleas and was malnourished.
Westminster Animal Control Officer Shanyn Behn, lead investigator on the case, said she suspects then-11-month-old Rocky got his paw stuck in the frame of a porch swing and suffered an injury to his right back foot.
At the time, nobody was home and it’s unclear how long Rocky was stuck in the swing.
The owner allegedly freed the dog eventually but he did not take Rocky to a veterinarian to have the wound checked and treated.
“Because of lack of medical treatment, the foot tissue started to die,” Behn said. “Dogs have an instinctual reaction to chew when something feels funny and, over the course of several days, he chewed off about three to five inches of his foot.
“The dog didn’t chew his foot off to free himself.”
Prosecutors allege Ibrahim tried to treat the wound himself using antiseptic wipes and covering it with a sock.
Ibrahim on Nov. 9 took Rocky to the Orange County Animal Care, which reported the crime to Westminster police.
Behn, an Animal Control officer for nine years, said it took about six weeks of investigation to determine the type of cruelty Ibrahim should be charged with.
“The lack of seeking medical care is where we found neglect,” Behn said.
Behn added many of the cases she sees are a result of ignorant or misinformed pet owners.
“If any animal gets hurt, the animal needs to be medically treated by a professional,” Behn said. “If you don’t, animal control will find out and it will be a problem.”
Anyone, with any type of pet, that has an injured animal or is concerned about their pet’s well being can reach out to Westminster police for help.
“We know the laws, we know what you need to do and we know how to point you in the right direction,” Behn said.
Rocky was later adopted by a San Diego family and renamed Rally after Aron Ralston, the rock climber who cut off his forearm to free himself from a boulder.
“From what I understand, Rally is now happy, safe and healthy,” Behn said.