Editor’s note: Footage may be hard to watch. Viewer discretion is advised. // This story has been updated with the condition of Pearl
MISSION, Texas (KVEO) — Pearl, the pit bull shot on the leg, is favorably recovering from a leg amputation. The organization caring for Pearl said she is now learning to walk.
On Tuesday, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) arrested the suspect of shooting the pit bull in La Villa.
The video of the shooting, taken by a neighbor and shared on social media, shows a man on a tractor calling the dog toward him before shooting the dog in the leg. The dog then limps away from the unidentified person.
Deputies arrested 51-year-old Mathew Rangel on Tuesday and charged with one count of cruelty to non-livestock animals. His bond was set at $30,000.
On Saturday, deputies received a call from a witness at Pablo Garza Service road in rural La Villa.
The witness showed deputies the video and said her neighbor had shot a dog she was caring for.
Rangel told deputies he fired the weapon after the dog came after him.
“After reviewing the video and witness statements, Sheriff’s investigators have determined Rangel did not have cause to shoot the dog, as it was at a distance and not an immediate threat,” said officials in a written statement.
KVEO spoke to the witness, who wished to remain anonymous, who said her daughter watched the incident in horror.
“My little girl was screaming for him to stop she was literally begging this guy to not kill her,” she said. “She was being playful she was not harming nobody at all.”
Animal rescuer group PA Pitstop, based in Pennsylvania, told the witness to take the dog straight to the vet.
The group said they are stepping in to cover the medical bills, and get the dog a home.
“She would have bled to death if she didn’t receive care,” said Denise Klonis with PA Pitstop rescue. “He could have let her go and she would have been gone so if you if you’re going to call an animal back onto a property how fearful are you really of your safety.
The dog, who now goes by the name of Pearl, was taken to a veterinary clinic for medical treatment and is currently recovering.
Her leg will need to be amputated. Pearl is showing no signs of aggression, despite being shot.
The Sheriff’s office urges anyone to please contact the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office at 956-383-8114 if they see instances of animal abuse..
If you wish to remain anonymous, you may call the Hidalgo County Crime Stoppers Hotline at 956-668-TIPS (8477). You can also submit an anonymous tip through the smartphone application “P3 TIPS”
If you want to donate towards Pearl’s medical care, click here.