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PLANTATION (CBSMiami) – Plantation Police want to find the person responsible for muzzling a dog and committing “an extreme act of cruelty” against the animal.

Nearly 10 days ago, Liberty was found running the streets of Plantation with a muzzle clamping her mouth shut. She was rushed to the Coral Springs Animal Hospital where doctors removed the muzzle — a thick rubber band — and found the animal’s jawbone exposed and part of her tongue missing. SHe was also malnourished.

“The minute we clipped it off, she took a breath and was like, finally,” Heather Wessel, a Certified Veterinary Technician, said.

Wessel worked to save Liberty, whose been renamed because doctors and nurses liberated her from her injury, and is also fostering the pit bull mixed breed. Wessel says Liberty suffered.

“I don’t know how she survived with something clamped,” Wessel said. “How did she eat for all of those days? How did she drink water?”

The key question that investigators are trying to figure out is who put the muzzle on the dog.

Police say the dog’s owner reported her missing July 12th. Then someone reported seeing a man abandon a dog matching Liberty’s description on July 17th driving an older model black vehicle in the area near the Turnpike overpass on W. Sunrise Boulevard.

Liberty was found on the streets of Plantation the next day. Investigators rushed her to the hospital where Veterinary surgeon Carl Jehn worked to close her wound. He says he believes Liberty’s muzzle was bound for at least 10-14 days.

“If it had been left untreated, it certainly would have been fatal,” Jehn said.

He said he’s rarely seen a case this bad.

“I can’t imagine anything much crueler than what was done to her,” he said.

Heather Wessel is impressed by Liberty’s demeanor. She says Liberty has remained calm and happy despite what she’s been through.

“As much as I’m going to teach her a lesson in loving and trusting, she’s already taught me the same lesson,” Wessel said. “Be resilient. She’s a fighter. And I think that’s awesome.”

Liberty will undergo more surgeries. The veterinarian said she will be able to eat and drink on her own but will never regain full movement of her nose and upper lip.

Plantation Police say they hope that someone in the community knows who put the muzzle on Liberty. If you have any information contact Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.

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