FAMILY’S SHOCK: Innocent puppy targeted in horrific attack
AS THEIR seven-month-old puppy lay critically ill at a Central Queensland vet, Stephanie Priebe and Chelsea Ahern have been told to prepare for the worst.
The pair, who usually wake to an early morning bark, instead found young Mariah on Friday morning with laboured breathing and unable to move.
Upon inspection of her gums - now a concerning shade of white - an urgent race to a Mulambin vet ensued as Mariah's chance of survival quickly diminished.
"We went outside as normal, and our puppy has usually barked by 6am every morning to say hello, but she didn't, and she wouldn't get off her couch."
"We rushed her to the vet where they confirmed she had been baited with rat poison," Ms Priebe sadly revealed.
The American Bulldog cross Maremma was found to be bleeding into her chest cavity - her blood subsequently left unable to clot.
While dog baiting has sadly increased across the Rockhampton region over recent years, the pair believe the horrific incident was likely targeted.
"There's been a few people message us to say there had been a person chasing Mariah with a stick," Ms Priebe said.
While the pup sometimes jump the fence or barks at passers-by, Ms Priebe said her little girl would never threaten or harm anyone.
"But with us both obviously working full-time and not being home, we didn't even know if she was possibly being a nuisance," she said.
"It just seems like a little bit of an extreme thing to do without being an adult and speaking to us first," she said.
The couple also took to an online community page at the weekend, showing a sign which has since been erected outside their Mulumbin home.
"We just want people in the area to know that it is happening, so many people have dogs in the area and we just wanted them to be aware of it and keep their babies in at night if they can.
"Other people also said they have had threats from their own neighbours in the area about baiting their dogs," Ms Priebe revealed.
Understandably the couple, along with four-year-old son Orlando have been left devastated by the callous attack.
"We're all really sad, I've been crying non-stop. We can't be with her because she's still bleeding into her chest cavity and I don't know if she's actually going to pull through," she said.
Ms Priebe said she hopes sharing their story would prompt others to be extra cautious when it comes to their pets.
"You can't stop a sicko from hurting your baby if that's what they're going to do."
"I'm hopeful that she's going to pull through. She looks big, she's a big breed but she's just a baby."
The pair have since been dealt costly veterinary bills upward of $2000.
As of Sunday, Mariah remains in a critical condition.