Huntingtown, MD – A Calvert County man is facing a single charge of animal cruelty after local veterinarians reported apparent paralysis in a five-month-old male American pit bull. According to documents on file in District Court, a Calvert County Animal Control Unit officer met with vets at the Mid-Atlantic Animal Specialty Hospital (MASH) in the early morning hours of Nov. 17. Animal Control Officer Sheckels arrived at MASH and first met with the owner of the brown and white pit bull and a deputy, who had been dispatched to the facility due to a report of “an intoxicated disorderly subject.”

The pit bull’s owner was identified in court documents as Joshua Lawrence Sack, 24 of Sunderland. Sack and a roommate had the dog, named Sosa, to MASH after the dog was “not moving and having trouble breathing.” One of the veterinarians told Sheckels that Sosa “was placed on life support as there was significant inflammation and swelling injuries to the dog’s neck, causing trouble breathing and possible head trauma.” The dog was also unable to move its legs.” In a written report, another veterinarian stated that the pit bull “is hospitalized for treatment of traumatic injury/suspected strangulation resulting in upper respiratory obstruction/respiratory arrest, significant lingual and neck [soft tissue] swelling, and scleral hemorrhage OS. Neurologic deficits secondary to C-spine injuries are present.”

Detective Livingston of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office interviewed Sack that evening. During the recorded interview Sack told Livingston “that he [Sack] had placed his arm around the dog’s neck.” In his original account, Sack had told Sheckels and the responding deputy that he had placed Sosa in a tub to give him a bath after the pit bull defecated on his [Sack’s] bed. Sack stated that after changing his bed linen, he went and checked on the dog and discovered the animal immobile and having trouble breathing.

The taped interview was forwarded to the Calvert County State’s Attorney’s Office. In compliance with Maryland Criminal Law, authorities seized control of the stricken pit bull. Sheckels told Sack that Sosa was being seized “for its own health.” Veterinarians have told police the dog may be paralyzed for life.

On Nov. 21, Sack was charged with animal cruelty. It is a misdemeanor charge. A preliminary inquiry into the charge is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 8 in District Court.

Contact Marty Madden at