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Phoebe’s ‘Miracle’ Recovery: Pit Bull Rescued after Getting Shot Twice in the Head, Buried Alive

A rescued pit bull mix is recovering from a harrowing near-death ordeal in which she was shot twice in the head and then buried alive.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the dog was found in the yard of a vacant home on Deerfield Drive, Tampa by Hillsborough County Animal Services Officer Rene Northrop after responding to an anonymous tip.

Upon discovering the dog buried up to its snout, Northrop dug her out with her hands. Severely malnourished and suffering from not one but two gunshot wounds to the head, it was far from certain that she would survive.

But survive she did, and with a friendly disposition that belies the horrific ordeal she endured at the hands of her abuser.

Staff at the emergency veterinarian clinic that treated the dog named her Phoebe.

The two gunshot wounds to Phoebe’s head amazingly missed her brain and vital organs. One bullet entered her forehead and exited out the back. The other shot struck her under one eye and came out through her neck.

“This is sick,” Animal Services Sgt. Pat Perry told WTSP. “Someone took this dog, buried it up to its neck, shot it twice in the head and then left it to die.”

“If they did this to a dog, they’ll do it to another dog, a cat, a child or a person,” Perry told the Times.

The Clair-Mel neighborhood from which Phoebe was rescued is notorious for dog fighting and abuse. Animal Services investigators had already taken custody of eight dogs in three vacant homes in the days before Phoebe’s rescue.

“These dogs had dog-fighting wounds,” Sgt. Perry told the Times. “They were hungry and they were inside these vacant homes. They didn’t wander in there. Someone put them in there.”

Hillsborough Animal Services believe that whoever brutalized Phoebe may have done so out of revenge for the agency’s aggressive removal of abused animals from the neighborhood.

“We were concerned that this was a message from them to us” Sgt. Perry told WTSP.

Phoebe is the second dog to have been rescued from the abandoned Deerfield Drive home. She is slated to be put up for adoption as soon as she is fully recovered.

Animal Services is urging anyone with information about the case to call (813) 744-5660.

Donations to the Phoebe Fund can be made via Friends of Hillsborough County Animal Services at

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