Many horrors that take place behind closed doors are never discovered and end in tragedy. Thankfully, this time neighbors realized what was happening before it was too late and called the local authorities. A man committed unspeakable atrocities over the course of several months and it almost cost an animal’s life. A man in Costa Rica, a mechanic by trade, owned a guard dog. Unwilling to properly take care of the animal, he kept her in atrocious conditions. The dog, named Cala, was a good-natured Pitbull that was forced to spend her days leashed to a short rusted metal chain. The chain was so short, she was forced to keep her head upright- any attempt to rest her head would push the chain into her neck and choke her. On top of this, her owner rarely remembered to feed her and she spent days without eating.
A local humane organization, “Territoria de Zaguates” arrived along with local law enforcement after neighbors called the police.
“I felt desperately sad and frustrated,” Lya Battle, founder of the organization told the news organization The Dodo. “The picture I first saw of her showed a pitiful creature robbed of its dignity and ready to give up – a dog whose spirit had been broken and was just waiting for the end to come while living a never-ending nightmare.”
Cala was immediately taken from her owner and transported to the vet. The dog was suffering from multiple open wounds as well as serious malnourishment.
Cala was immediately taken from her owner and transported to the vet. Dog was suffering from multiple open wounds as well as serious malnourishment.
“Her healing process was slow, and the humans around her still had to cause her pain through the curing of her wounds, especially the gash in her neck caused by years of hanging from a tight metal chain around her neck. Nursing her was as painful for her as it was for us but eventually, she understood that after the pain came to love and treats’ so she learned to deal with it like a champ.” Battle told The Dodo.
Cala was returned to a sanctuary once she was mostly healed, but her behavior still troubled volunteers who helped her rehabilitate. She didn’t connect to other dogs or to people, but as she began to realize that was finally in a safe place she began to warm up to her surroundings. Even so, Cala remained shy and hesitant when in the presence of others.
“We saw Cala go from a weak, feeble animal, too depressed to care, to a stronger creature willing to stand up for herself,” Battle said. “With time, we also got to see that willful creature incorporate play and goofiness into her daily routine. With every day that passed, we saw more of her personality come through. She went from fearing humans to trusting them and even ‘bugging’ them for attention.”
And yet, after all this progress, a tragedy occurred. A group of criminals broke into the shelter and planted poisoned food everywhere. Their motives were never discovered and they were never caught, and 16 dogs died as a result of this heinous crime. Cala was nearly the 17th victim, she has consumed some of the poison but clung to life and eventually pulled through.
“Cala was still alive when we got to her,” Battle said. “Probably her size helped tolerate the dose — that or she only got to a small bite of it. In any case, Cala was saved. She struggled with neurological problems for a while after that but she came around again. She’s just too tough a cookie!”
“I think there are no coincidences in life, Cala survived years of neglect, years of torture, years of hunger and illness. She was hanging on to life for a reason and she had already found out that life had been worth the long wait when again humans appeared in the picture wanting to hurt her. So although we were devastated by the loss of all the others, that fact that Cala had managed to pull through was just so fitting to her spirit,” said Battle.
In the end, volunteers found a foster home for Cala to stay in- a home filled with love and caring, surrounded by people who cared for her.
Cala is now safe and happy, but people on social media continued to react negatively about the horrible experienced she endured.
Cala is still far from perfectly healthy, but she continues to improve and overcome her past. She plays and never acts aggressively towards humans or other animals. Even though she was treated horribly, she has grown into a sweet and playful animal that is now living a life surrounded by love.