DOVER (FOX 13) - A pit bull that was shot in the face by alleged car-thieves in Dover last week is now on the road to recovery.
On Thursday Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies say they arrested Thomas Nolasco and Jonathan Lozada after they ditched a stolen vehicle and fled from deputies on foot. While on the run, the pair cut through the yard of a 9-year-old pit bull named Roscoe, his owner, Jim Ryans, says one of the men pulled out a gun and shot his dog in the face.
The bullet went through Roscoe's nose and snout, then lodged itself near the dog's spine. He needed emergency surgery. Unable to afford the procedure, Ryans' only option was euthanasia. To his relief, however, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay gave him a better option.
"The Humane Society has a Save A Pet fund, which is really amazing because we're able to help a lot of pets like [Roscoe] that wouldn't otherwise be able to get these services," explained Humane Society veterinarian Faith Riley.
One day after being shot, Roscoe spent a full day in surgery. Vets repaired the damage to his nose and snout, but ultimately were forced to leave the bullet inside of him.
"Just like in humans sometimes you get these injuries so close to the spine and you don't want to necessarily go in," explained Riley. "It's more dangerous to actually go in and retrieve these things because of all the vasculature and nerves that run along the spinal area."
As the wounds on his face and in his mouth and throat heel, Roscoe isn't able to breathe easy just yet, but the team around him at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay is starting to.
"He's been a trooper and you can tell he's really fighting to survive," said Riley "He is improving every day and that's what we look for: every day to be a better day than the last one."