SPRINGTOWN -- A pit bull with plenty of milk for her own litter affectionately nuzzles three more pups who need it; what a contrast to the human cruelty a total of ten tiny puppies experienced Wednesday.
Someone shot their mother through the head inside a cage on the side of the road.
The week-old pups were still trying to suckle milk from their dead mother when they were spotted by a school bus driver early Wednesday morning. The cage was sitting on Raley Road just off Veal Station Road in Springtown.
“They were covered in blood,” said dog rescuer Jennifer Aikman. She runs Angels & Outlaws Second Chance Bully Ranch in Hico.
Aikman took them in, cleaned them off, and amazingly, got them fixed up with two other nursing dogs that accepted them.
"She just took them right in,” Aikman said of the pooch, named Lena. “She has plenty of milk."
Aikman shudders at the coldness of the person who shot the mother dog, a brown shepherd/heeler mix. Questions go through her mind.
"Did he go take his kids to school? Eat breakfast? Where do you go after you shoot your dog in the head and leave it on the side of the road, dead with 10 puppies?" Aikman said.
Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler shakes his head in frustration. "I mean, what kind of sense does any of this make?"
Sheriff Fowler said there's not a lot of evidence. Just the cage, lined with cardboard used for school displays, and an empty water bowl made from a pot.
Fowler boosted the reward to $2,000, tapping reward money raised two years ago for the abused dog nicknamed Hope. The reward was then raised another $5,000 by the National Humane Society to a total of $7,000.
"Give us the information on where this dog came from, and we'll take it from there," Sheriff Fowler said.
"Looks like a little Catahoula,” Jennifer Aikman said, holding up a dappled gray pup smaller than a hot dog bun. Others are cream colored with pink noses. Their eyes are just opening. Some need bottle feeding.
Aikman worries about the runt, but thinks they'll make it. She tries not to think about how they got here.
After the dogs are weaned, she’ll be looking for caring families to adopt them. You can get more information at the Angels & Outlaws Second Chance Bully Ranch Facebook page.