GEORGETOWN — The justice of the peace granted the adoption, banged her gavel and within a few minutes Round Rock police officer John Schultz was holding a very excited bull terrier in his arms.
Schultz formally adopted Champ, who has recovered after being dragged almost a mile while tethered to a truck, at a ceremony Monday in the courtroom of Justice of the Peace Evelyn McLean.
“You don’t want anything to suffer as much as he did and your heart goes out to him knowing what he went through,” said Schultz, who has fostered Champ since October.
The dog left a trail of blood almost a mile long after he fell out of the back of a pickup in August in Round Rock and was dragged while still being tied to it, officials have said.
His former owner, who was driving the pickup, was charged with cruelty to an animal but was no-billed by a grand jury in November and the case was dismissed, according to court records.
Witnesses told police they saw the driver of the pickup dragging the dog still tethered to it and also saw him running over the dog after it got caught underneath the wheels, the affidavit said.
Police found the dog bleeding from cuts to his paws and groin area in the 2600 block of Bluffstone Drive. Champ also had a bone protruding from one of his hind legs.
The driver told police immediately after the incident happened that he could not find his dog after driving home from Houston with the dog in the truck bed, the affidavit said.
It said he began to cry during the police interview and was upset about losing his dog. His lawyer and the Williamson County district attorney’s office did not respond Monday to a request for comment about the case.
Schultz said that after he heard about what happened to Champ, he began visiting him at the shelter and feeding him.
The dog lost some skin, the pads on some of his paws and his toenails, and had bones exposed from being dragged, said Dr. Loren Kempf, who works at the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.
She smiled at Champ as he pranced around at a reception in his honor Monday at the shelter and let people pet him. Almost all of the dog’s hair has grown back and so have his toenails.
“I didn’t expect the hair or the nail beds to come back,” Kempf said.
The dog required five to six operations, which cost around $10,000, much of which was raised by Schultz, said Cheryl Schneider, the director of the animal shelter. She said the community also helped with the dog’s recovery by donating money to Jane’s Fund, which is the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter’s medical fund.
The dog’s former name was “Snoopy” and he previously had been picked up a few times as a stray and brought to the shelter, she said.
Schultz said he renamed the dog because of what the bull terrier had endured. He said he even took the dog with him on a vacation to New York City, and that Champ got to see Rockefeller Center and visit Central Park.
The dog, which is almost 3 years old, will live with Schultz and his six other dogs on more than 100 acres of land the officer owns.