Woman Tortured Puppy She Wanted Silent By Binding Its Mouth Shut, Authorities Say

A vet has reportedly claimed that the dog’s injuries, which make it hard for the animal to eat or drink, stem from its snout being tied shut for up to two weeks.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

A Utah woman is facing an animal torture charge after authorities say she used a hair tie to clamp her dog’s mouth shut and keep the animal from whining.

Alexis Marie Callen, a 19-year-old Murray resident, was arrested and charged on Tuesday with torturing a companion animal after authorities deduced that she had gravely injured her 3-month old puppy, Shadow, local outlet Gephardt Daily reports.

A local rescue group, Celestial Zoo, saw the disturbing photos of Shadow online after Callen published posts searching for another home for the animal because she couldn’t afford the veterinarian bills, Salt Lake City’s Fox 13 reports. They retrieved the dog and took it to an animal hospital, and the police were called once vets saw the extent of Shadow's injuries. Authorities then tracked down Callen at home, where they say she owned up to the abuse.

Callen "admitted that she intentionally and knowingly had placed her elastic hair tie around the dog’s snout for a period of 48 hours in hopes to keep the dog quiet from excessive whining,” a responding officer wrote in a probable cause statement obtained by the Gephardt Daily.

The statement went on to say that Callen had “sole custody of the companion animal,” but that she “acted in a heinous and cruel manner by inflicting an extreme amount of physical pain to the 3-month-old companion animal (black Labrador mix type dog).”

While Callen reportedly admitted to binding the dog’s mouth shut for 48 hours, police say that a veterinarian who examined the pup contends that, judging by the extent of the animal’s injuries, its snout may have been tied shut for up to two weeks, according to Fox 13.

The dog’s injuries are severe and will require reconstructive surgery costing $2,000, the outlet reports. Food and water routinely seep out from the hole in her mouth, making it difficult for the pup to eat or drink properly until she is healed.

“Left side [of her nose], it’s completely open even with her mouth closed,” Caylla Facemyer, who’s currently taking care of Shadow, told Fox 13. “You can see into her mouth. It’s pretty bad.”

Callen was arrested earlier this year after authorities performed a welfare check on the infant she shares with her partner, 20-year-old Matthew Lloyd, the Gephardt Daily reports. Authorities said that when they examined the apartment, it was dirty and smelled like marijuana. The baby looked too small for its age and malnourished, the outlet reports, citing court records.

Authorities wrote in a probable cause statement that they found marijuana and drug paraphernalia mere feet from the baby, and the couple reportedly admitted to smoking marijuana in front of the child, according to the outlet.

Authorities took Callen into custody on a third-degree felony charge of endangerment of a child as well as misdemeanor drug charges including possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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