Baby back home, but a bit traumatized


Angelica Morfin holds Baby, a three-month old pit bull who had her ears shoddily cropped after wandering away from her home.

MABTON - A three-month old pit bull named Baby is recovering from having her ears incompetently cropped after she wandered from her yard this past Monday. According to owner Angelica Morfin of Mabton, Baby was let out Monday afternoon. When the owners called for her a few minutes later, she didn't respond. After searching the neighborhood, the family asked friends to look out for the animal. On Tuesday a friend showed up at Morfin's workplace and said, "Let's go get your dog." The friend told Morfin that the people who had Baby wouldn't give the dog to him, but he was certain they would give Baby back to Morfin. Her friend took her across town, and she spotted her dog being walked on a chain. "I said, 'Stop! There's Baby!' and got out to confront the guys," she said. "They didn't say anything, just asked for their chain back." When she saw Baby's ears, she was stunned. "I said, 'What did you do to her ears!' but they just stood there," Morfin said. "Her head was still covered in blood. I think they must have done it that morning." Morfin describes herself as a person who didn't care all that much about animals... until Baby came into her life. "I've really bonded with this puppy," she said. "I never thought I would love an animal so much. She's my baby." Morfin called police to report the incident, but was told it is a civil matter. Mabton Police Chief Ricardo Gutierrez explained that, because the dog was loose when she disappeared, they couldn't prove that the dog was stolen. "We have a lot of problems with loose and unlicensed dogs in this town," he said. As for the ear cropping, there is a civil infraction with a fine of $500 for abusing a dog, but they would have to prove who did the deed. Morfin admits that Baby isn't licensed yet, but said they had planned to do the licensing soon. The dog has had all her shots, but she needs more medical attention for her damaged ears. "I was going to ask them what they had used to cut off her ears," she said. "Then I decided I didn't want to know." Mabton is one of the cities in Yakima County that does not have a contract with the Yakima Humane Society. Unlike some branches of the organization, the Yakima Humane Society is not a part of the government and is run entirely on donations and adoption fees, according to Executive Director Wendy St. George. "I don't know what would motivate someone to do something so ghastly to an animal," St. George said. While some breed standards call for cropping of the ears or docking the tail, such work is always done professionally with anesthesia, according to St. George, and most animal lovers don't approve of it in any case. The job done on Baby was shoddy and the dog clearly was traumatized. "She barked all the way home," said Morfin. "Her own mother didn't recognize her when we got her home. She finally ate a little food last night after we cleaned her up, but she's still suffering."


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