Dog Who Lost His Nose In Machete Attack Just Wants To Be Loved
Not every street dog's cry for help reaches thousands of animal lovers around the world. Or the ears of a president.
Then again, not many dogs endure the kind of agony that Duke has suffered. Earlier this month, according to a Facebook post by Asociación Vida Animal Costa Rica, a dog named Duke was brutally hacked with a machete.
When he was found in the area of Tres Rios, Duke's mouth was literally hanging by a thread.
Doctors had to snip the strand of tissue connecting his upper jaw to the rest of his mouth, removing much of Duke's nose and teeth.
The circumstances of the attack remain unclear - like countless others in the country, Duke was a street dog. A person has been identified as the attacker, but charges are unlikely due to insufficient evidence.
Nationwide outrage following the attack, however, has reached the highest echelons of government. Demands for animal cruelty legislation - under existing Costa Rican law, harming an animal is deemed a minor offense punishable with negligible fines - have prompted president Luis Guillermo Solís to issue a statement stressing his support for a new law.
The bill has been trudging through the country's judicial pipeline, seemingly delayed and opposed by lawmakers at every turn. The legislation would bring sweeping protections for the country's animal population, from pets to strays, and would make animal torture illegal. Instead of just fines, people who harm animals would face prison sentences of up to two years.
Although Duke is recovering well from extensive surgery, according to Asociación Vida Animal Costa Rica, the furor over the incident is unlikely to die down. In fact, the 2-year-old mixed breed has found an even stronger voice on social media.
Thousands of people from around the world are expressing their support for him by posting pictures of their pets with the hashtag #FuerzaDuke.
Scores of people in the country have also lined up on the streets to voice support for Duke.
Duke reportedly spent 14 days at a veterinary hospital before being transferred to a foster home. He will undergo a second surgery next month.
"Duke is extremely happy," a spokesperson from Vida Animal Costa Rica tells The Dodo. "He is definitely enjoying every single second of his new life.
"Duke is loving the fact that he has humans around him that love and care about him. He definitely is a champ."
While Duke awaits a second round of surgery, his rescuers are looking for help with the dog's mounting medical bills. Find out how to help here.
You can also join the fight for tougher animal cruelty laws in Costa Rica by signing this petition.