posted December 12, 2013 09:33 AM
After scouring the neighborhood for lost family dog Morticai, Lisa Clarke heard a knock at the door.
Two strangers told her they had found an injured dog and taken him to the veterinarian.
As Clarke drove to see Morticai, she guessed he may have been hit by a car.
Instead the vet told her Morticai was probably beaten with a baseball bat.
Clarke stood Tuesday in the snow by her Brodheadsville home off Route 715, a month after the incident.
Morticai, an 8-year-old Boston terrier, nosed in the snow but only responds to loud clapping after the incident left him mostly blind.
The night he went missing, he sprinted suddenly from the family's backyard. Clarke said he refuses to be on a leash and has run before, but never far.
Clarke said she was not concerned initially, but was posting a Craigslist ad about the lost dog when she heard the knock at her door, only about 90 minutes after he had disappeared.
When she arrived at the vet, she saw one of Morticai's eyes had popped out of its socket. He was out of breath. Blood was coming out of his nose.
But Morticai also had no broken bones, and Clarke said she didn't understand what happened. The vet told her it was a bat that did the damage.
"I had no idea really," Clarke said. "I was pretty much in shock, and then they handed me the estimate."
Clarke said she and her husband eventually owed $900.
The incident came on the heels of being laid off from her job and her Christmas savings being wiped out.
"It's been very overwhelming because of the money situation," she said.
The injuries were especially difficult for her 4-year-old daughter Lea to understand. Clarke said she and her husband have had Morticai since before Lea was born.
Inside the house, Lea cuddled with Morticai, piling him with blankets and putting winter hats on her head and his.
"That's her dog," Clarke said. "It's been very hard on her. Extremely hard, actually, on all of us."
The family is raising money for the vet bill, which has also made it difficult to pay to fix a broken down vehicle and an abscessed tooth Clarke is suffering.
Clarke said the family wondered who would hurt Morticai, but got more curious with the news of mysterious dog deaths in the Poconos recently. She said she is not sure they are related.
"If it's not, then there's two psychos out there," Clarke said.
SPCA Officer Elizabeth Anderson said this week that she did not have records of a report from the vet, Creature Comforts Veterinary Service, about the incident. She said she would contact Clarke to investigate.
Veterinarians typically have a working relationship with Anderson to report injuries that appear intentional, but she said reporting is not a requirement.
Creature Comforts did not respond to a call for comment.
Anderson said the case appears to rise to the level of a misdemeanor charge, which involves killing, maiming, disfiguring or torturing.