Mystery: Who tied dog so it would drown in creek?

'Brooke' was found with his leash lashed to a rock underwater and faced almost certain drowning until a couple rescued him. (Photo: Bucks County SPCA)
'Brooke' was found with his leash lashed to a rock underwater and faced almost certain drowning until a couple rescued him. (Photo: Bucks County SPCA)
Posted: April 05, 2013

An older black Labrador mix - found tied to a rock in a Bucks County creek - has captured hearts of animal lovers as police try to find who left her to drown in a rising tide.

Wyatt Erb first spotted the dog late Saturday afternoon while on a walk with his wife Diana on Inner Road in Bristol Township. The dog appeared to be calmly laying by the edge of Neshaminy Creek, staring across the water as if lost in thought.

But, when the couple passed again, the dog still hadn't budged. Water had now started to lap up against the canine.

The dog wore a collar but no owner was in sight. Wyatt Erb clapped his hands to get her attention but the dog didn't move. Then she turned her head toward Erb.

"As soon as I looked at her, there was that look in her eye of 'please help me,'" Erb said. He jumped down the six-foot embankment and into the shin-deep muck.

Diana Erb went home to get a dog leash - the couple has a Jack Russell terrier and a cat - and call Animal Control for help.

The dog's eye was a "pocket of pus," Wyatt Erb said. As he got closer he could see "every bone" in her body and a large growth on her back foot. He reached down and picked up the dog but was pulled back.

A leash, which had been pushed into the soft river bottom and was tied to a large rock, restrained him. There was no way the dog could have tied the leash around the rock, Wyatt Erb said, believing it was done deliberately.

"Basically when the tide came in the poor dog would have drowned," he said.

The couple was able to push the dog up over the embankment. They gave her water and waited for animal control.

"She is a sweetie - a great disposition, Wyatt Erb said. I didn't understand how someone could do that."

"They deserve a lot of credit," said Tom Morris, Bristol Township Animal Control Officer. By the time he arrived on scene, the rock was already submerged, he said.

The dog, now aptly christened 'Brooke' by the Bucks County SPCA staff, has drawn the attention of animal lovers across the county who are calling, faxing in adoption applications and donations for her care, said Anne Irwin, executive director.

Brooke, who was seen by doctors at CARES, a veterinary speciality hospital in Langhorne, has long term ear and eye infections, a grapefruit size tumor on her hind foot and she is seriously underweight, said Irwin.

"Hopefully, she won't be so thin for very long," said Irwin. She said Brooke has started to respond to the staff by wagging her tail and giving a few kisses. "Those are positive sign for a dog who had not lost love of life."

Morris said police are continuing to investigate how the animal came to be in the creek. If the dog was deliberately tied to the rock, someone could face criminal charges, he said.

PETA is offering up to $2,500 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Bucks County SPCA Humane Officers at 215-794-7425.

Contact staff writer Mari A. Schaefer at 610-313-8111, mschaefer@phillynews.com or @MariSchaefer on Twitter.

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