PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WMBF) -It's the worst case of animal abuse the rescue group has seen, but they were determined to help save the dog. And now, they're determined to change the law.
All 4 Paws saw a post on a Hampton County shelter's Facebook about a dog that had been dropped off with injuries beyond repair. Unless help came fast, the dog would be put down.
The local rescue group crossed county lines to save the dog, traveling hours to bring her home to Pawleys Island. But the more they treated her, the worse they realized her injuries were.
They were told when the dog, Mackenzie, was dropped off at the shelter, her owner told them she was bitten by a snake. He tried cutting the infection off of her face using a pocketknife, the shelter believes.
"We started treating her as if she had a snake bite, but as we got deeper into her care, we realized it was much more involved than that," said Noel Berger with the Animal Hospital and Laser Center of South Carolina.
Berger spearheaded Mackenzie's surgery. During which they realized Mackenzie's jaw was fractured. While working to repair her jaw, they decided to take some X-rays.
"Then we realized the unthinkable. The unimaginable. The inhumane act of having her face filled with shotgun pellets," said Berger.
The vet believes Mackenzie was shot, point blank, in her head. He believes as she heard the gun go off and turned her head, the bullets spread across her face.
Her injuries should have killed her.
"There is something deep within this dog. Something special in her spirit," expressed Berger.
And part of that something special, is a purpose: to help change the laws regarding animal abuse.
The rescue group doesn't understand why the shelter didn't contact police when she was first dropped off.
"The shelter should have said 'Sir, it is unacceptable for you to use your own knife to cut your own dog's face like that.' It should have been a warning flag. They could have asked him to wait a moment and authorities could have been contacted right at that moment," said Berger.
"The fact that he wasn't arrested made me think 'why?' It made me realize this needs to change," said Shannon Prouty, the founder of All 4 Paws.
All 4 Paws wants Mackenzie's story to spark changes in animal abuse laws in South Carolina.
"It is important for people to know these things are happening but are getting swept under the rug," said Prouty.
They want stricter rules and regulations.
"We have to start with the laws. We have to educate, let people know this is so predominant," said Prouty. She adds, "Animal Control officers have their hands tied. Sometimes, they can't do anything even though they know in their hearts it is wrong."
In their mission with Mackenzie, the rescue group is starting a movement they call Song of the South. They want council members to make changes regarding animal abuse laws.
And while they are looking for justice, they are also looking for a permanent home for Ms. Mackenzie.
"She will have the best home. Where she will never undergo any pain, or torture, or trauma. Because that is what she deserves," promises Prouty.
Mackenzie's survival story is just one of many from All 4 Paws. This week they also rescued a 3-week-old puppy who someone had badly burned and left under a wheelbarrow as well as a pitbull who had almost been beaten to death.
For more information on All 4 Paws, visit their Facebook Page: Facebook.com/All4PawsSC
For more information regarding Song of the South: Facebook.com/AnimalAbuseSongoftheSouth
To sign a petition to get justice for Mackenzie: https://www.change.org/petitions/hampton-county-council-members-justice-for-shot-cut-and-beaten-dog-mackenzie