WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS INCLUDED
A pitbull is in recovery after suffering burns over its body. Rockford investigators say the mistreatment of the dog is connected to a standoff that occurred earlier this week.
On Tuesday, police and SWAT swarmed an apartment complex on Jacqueline Drive, in a neighborhood east of the Sandy Hollow Golf Course, in a standoff with Robert Horton, Jr.
Police had been summoned to the apartment because of a report that someone had fired a gun at the residence.
What we know now is that the incident began with Horton’s mistreatment of Simba, an 8-month-old pitbull.
Simba’s original owner gave him away to Horton’s significant other, a high school acquaintance. In the time that Simba was in Horton’s possession, a mutual friend said that the couple abused him. This individual then assisted in getting Simba back to his original owner, who took him to a veterinarian.
The severity of Simba’s wounds included severe burns from hot water or chemicals, which were infected so badly that his skin was falling off.
The extent of the veterinarian bills was so much that the owner signed ownership of the dog over to CARE for PETS, pending the outcome of an investigation.
“The sad part is that this goes on probably way more often than it should,” said Jim Beam of CARE for PETS. “We’re not going to tolerate it in our community. It is being very aggressively investigated.”
On Monday, it is thought that Horton fired shots at the friend who had intervened on Simba’s behalf, prompting the standoff with the Rockford SWAT team. Horton was arrested and was charged with, among other things, felony aggravated animal cruelty.
CARE for PETS volunteer Lisa Stinson read about Simba’s story on Facebook and decided to help. She covered part of his initial emergency visit — which cost more than a thousand dollars. Despite the hefty price tag, she says it was an easy decision to make.
“He loves people, he’s a people pleaser,” said Stinson. “He just wants to be loved and that’s all. You can’t help but fall in love with him.”
She adds it’s important for people to be the voice for animals when anything seems concerning.
“I can’t even begin to imagine what goes through a person’s mind to make them cause that kind of pain on an animal, but he didn’t deserve it.”
A YouCaring fundraiser has been set up to raise funds to help offset Simba’s medical bills. He is currently is expected to make a full recovery, but it is expected to take some time.