Dog chews off own leg, owner facing charges

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PEORIA, Ariz -- A Peoria woman is facing felony animal cruelty charges after her a dog, a brindle pit bull mix, chewed off half of her own leg.

After receiving an anonymous tip, a Peoria Police Department animal control officer contacted Michelle Busse, 22, regarding a complaint that she did not get medical attention for her dog, "Carmela."

Police say Busse told the officer that Carmela's leg was injured when the dog was hit by a car about one year ago.

When the officer examined Carmela, she was missing the lower half of her right front leg and was walking on exposed bone and flesh. The leg was infected and Carmela was leaving a bloody mark as she walked on the partially severed leg.

Busse did take the dog to a veterinarian, but despite being offered a payment plan by the veterinarian, she still did not have the dog's injury treated. She also chose not to have Carmela humanely euthanized to end her prolonged suffering.

"Not having the money is really no excuse," says Jay Davies, Public Information Officer with the Peoria Police Department.

"If you can afford to have a pet and care for a pet you're responsible for its care and there are a lot of programs out there to help you maintain your pet in a healthy way."

Police say Busse surrendered her dog to Peoria's animal control unit. The dog was treated at the Peoria Emergency Animal Clinic. She was later transferred to the Arizona Humane Society, where a veterinarian performed surgery on the dog. Post-surgery care for Carmela was provided by the Sun Valley Animal Shelter.

In addition to prosecuting Busse for animal cruelty, the Peoria Police Department will pursue restitution for the costs incurred in the treatment and care of Carmela during her recovery.

Carrie Hipskind, the manager at Sun Valley Animal Shelter said, "Our hope for her future is to find a perfect home, get to go home, chill, relax and start a new life and forget about her past."

Carmela has recovered and is available for adoption.

For more information contact the Sun Valley Animal Shelter online or at 623-872-7941.