A young dog that was stabbed seven times with a steak knife was recovering from her injuries Tuesday, officials said.
Irvan Ordell Pegram, 45, of Southeast, stabbed the Shih Tzu named Coco with a knife while "shouting that the dog was Satan," according to a Sept. 21 D.C. police report.
Coco's owner and Mr. Pegram's sister Lurlene said her brother's actions "were not done on purpose, but they could have been avoided."
Ms. Pegram said her brother,who has a history of mental illness, had not been taking his medicine for conditions including dementia. During the afternoon on Sept. 21, he began to think the dog "was a demon."
"Shih Tzus are friendly dogs. They don't harm nobody," she said.
Ms. Pegram told police in the incident report her brother "began suffering a mental episode," grabbed a knife from the kitchen and began stabbing Coco.
Washington Humane Society Vice President of External Affairs Scott Giacoppo said the fact the knife avoided the dog's vital organs was "miraculous."
"She was stabbed several times with what we believe was a 4-inch blade," Mr. Giacoppo said. "She is just a small thing, which is why it's so amazing she was stabbed seven times and all seven stab wounds are not immediately life-threatening."
According to the American Shih Tzu Club, dogs in the breed are an average of nine to 16 pounds and measure about a foot long.
When police arrived at the home, they found Mr. Pegram waiting in the front yard. The injured dog was sitting on the back porch.
Mr. Pegram was transported to the D.C. Department of Mental Health's Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program.
Ms. Pegram said her brother had a restraining order against him and she hoped he will go back on his medication.
"I don't know if that will happen or not," she said.
Two-year-old Coco is recovering at a foster home, Mr. Giacoppo said. Whether she will return to her original home depends on a number of variables, such as "whether or not we feel it's a safe environment for the animal to go back into."
Mr. Giacoppo said owners often realize that better options exist for their pet and allow them to find new homes.
Ms. Pegram said she was "hoping we can get her back."
"Right now the key is getting that dog back on the road to recovery, getting her fixed up and working with the U.S. Attorney's office about filing criminal charges."
No charges had been filed against Mr. Pegram by Tuesday afternoon, according to a spokesman with the attorney's office.
Mr. Giacoppo said because of the severity of the crime, "we may be able to go for a felony charge, which carries up to five years [in prison]."
Mr. Giacoppo said Coco's surgery and treatment cost about $3,000, including drains for the wounds, antibiotics and pain medicine.
"As far as we know, she's just healing up right now," he said.
A fund was established through the Humane Society's website to raise money to cover Coco's medical bills. Additional money will be set aside for future emergency treatment for other animals.
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Meredith Somers is a Metro reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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