When a stuffed animal was found gruesomely decapitated outside a shelter dog’s kennel, the animal rescue had no choice but to investigate.
In a series of photos posted on social media last month, the Fox Valley Humane Association in Appleton, Wis., shared updates into the case of how Fuzzy Purple Hippo ended up in such a grisly state, and whether or not Hank, a 4-year-old chocolate lab, was to blame.
Rebecca Reppert-Klich, the shelter’s photographer, said she first started following the pair when Hank was turned over to the shelter with the stuffed animal.
“He was in love with this purple hippo and it was supposed to stay with him,” Reppert-Klich told InsideEdition.com. “They’re a bonded pair.”
A couple of days later, a member of the animal care staff told her Hank might have chewed up his own beloved stuffed animal.
“I ran down to the kennel and I saw it was torn up so I said we have to do something about it,” she said. “I went running down to the vet area, and Dr. Laura, our head vet, happened to be in there still.”
Reppert-Klich asked the veterinarian if she would look after the stuffed animal as she snapped a couple photographs, but it was clear Dr. Laura took the case much more seriously, putting on her cap and surgical mask, prepping the stuffed animal for anesthesia and taking out her suture kit.
Realizing the positive response on social media after she posted the video of Fuzzy Purple Hippo’s surgery, she decided to have an officer, who happened to be at the animal shelter looking for a therapy dog, got involved in the criminal investigation.
In the presence of an "attorney," the cop took Hank to a side room for questioning and successfully collected evidence that later exonerated the pup, Reppert-Klich said.
She explained they eventually discovered Hank and Fuzzy Purple Hippo were planning a romantic night out, and during their great escape, Fuzzy Purple Hippo got caught on the fence and was ripped.
“[Hank] was so worried she would get in trouble for trying to escape that he wouldn’t tell on her,” Reppert-Klich said. “That’s why he wasn’t talking and he was remaining 'mum' with the lawyer and police.”
Fuzzy Purple Hippo has since been ordered to attend therapy sessions following the traumatic accident. She has since been medically cleared.
“As soon as she was able to get out of her stupor from the anesthesia, she cleared Hank of what he was accused of and she made a full recovery,” Reppert-Klich said. “She even got her cone of shame off.”
Reppert-Klich said that after photos recounting the incident were posted to Instagram, the shelter saw a surge in adoptions and people inquiring about pups in the shelter.
And, even though he was once-suspected of a grizzly crime against his Fuzzy Purple Hippo best friend, Hank was adopted soon after the images went viral.
"He was adopted right away by a wonderful family that also took the purple hippo,” she said. “They’re living together very very happily.”