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‘She’s the reason I want to live,’ Family dog seriously injured in vicious attack

PURCELL, Okla. - Tom Baird's pit bull, Smoke, means more to him than anything else in the world.

However, Baird said his love for his pet couldn't stop a vicious attack on his dog in his own front yard.

On Dec. 3, Baird said he had Smoke on a leash outside in the front yard when an attacker rode up to his home on a bicycle.

"I had just let her out of her leash so she could use the bathroom, and Tom heard her yelp," said Baird's caretaker, Tina Richardson.

Police said a knife-wielding suspect sliced Smoke wide open.

Inside the house, Baird heard the whole thing but was powerless to stop the attack because he is disabled.

Baird has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. He had no way to stop his dog from being mutilated just feet away.

Amazingly, Smoke was rushed to the veterinarian and survived the horrific attack.

Now, the family is making sure police catch the criminal who attempted to kill their beloved pet.

"That's how people start out when you're sick like that," said Baird's cousin, Kelli Gome. "That's how serial killers start, mutilating and killing animals. They definitely need help."

Detectives said they don't have much to go on as far as a suspect description because Baird couldn't get a clear view of the suspect due to his disability.

As it turns out, another family in Purcell had the same thing happen to their pet. About one year ago, their cocker spaniel was attacked.

"One person said it was a gang of kids that was doing this stuff and calling themselves 'gang bangers,'" Richardson said. "I don't how you can do anything to somebody's pet animal, an innocent animal that ain't even going to hurt ya."

Smoke's vet care was expensive, and Baird is struggling to pay the bill while coming to grips with why someone who hurt his pet right before Christmas.

Purcell police said they are aware of at least one other case in town, but they are not sure if they are connected.

Officials with the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals told KFOR they are offering a $3,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect.

The organization, which plays an active role in animal cruelty cases, said all information must go through Purcell police before the reward is paid.