BETHEL — A month after a 6-month-old puppy was found abandoned in Newry with his muzzle bound and severely damaged, the Humane Society of the United States announced it will offer a reward of up to $5,000 for the identification, arrest and conviction of those responsible.

On Oct. 2, Newry Animal Control Officer Sue Milligan found the dog in the Viking Village condominium complex near Sunday River Ski Resort, suffering from dehydration and injuries consistent with having its muzzle taped tightly shut.

The puppy, named Blue, was brought to the Bethel Animal Hospital, where the staff treated him with antibiotics. He later had surgery to remove dead tissue from one side of his mouth.

On Oct. 12, the Bethel Animal Hospital began accepting applications for Blue’s adoption, adding that they would use a comprehensive multi-step application process to make sure “something like this never happens to Blue again.”

The hospital later announced that Blue had been adopted by a family who would stay anonymous to protect their privacy.

Katie Hansberry, the Maine director for the Humane Society of the United States, said that “binding a puppy’s mouth shut and abandoning him with severe injuries is heartbreakingly cruel.”


“We hope our reward will help find the person or persons who committed this heinous crime,” Hansberry added.

Milligan said that she had “never seen an injury that bad to a dog before.”

“I pick up a lot of abandoned animals and have seized animals from homes before, but I’ve never seen any injury that bad,” Milligan said.

Milligan added that she and Oxford County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Tom Harriman are “working up a couple of leads.”

“Unfortunately, these things tend to move slowly,” Milligan said. “I wish I could just snap my fingers and have everything be discovered.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 357-6796 or 743-9554.

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