Dog severaly abused in St. Lucie County needs forever home

Posted at 7:26 PM, Apr 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-12 19:26:30-04

We have new information and video of a dog who suffered what the Humane Society calls one of the worst abuses our area has ever seen.

Today, Nikki, a pit-mix, underwent surgery and is recovering at home with her foster mom.

Recently happy, affectionate and wagging her tail. It's hard to wrap your mind around pictures of Nikki when she arrived at the Humane Society of St Lucie County over a week ago. She had no body fat and she was covered in sores. Her hind paw was missing.

“She was emaciated, horrible,” said Shauna Baur, who’s fostering Nikki. “It's a very serious abuse case.”

Baur took Nikki home last Wednesday hobbling into the car. “She tried to bite us when we put the leash on,” said Baur. “She was scared to death.”

Now, Baur is caring for Nikki at her home in Vero Beach. “It's a labor intensive thing all through the night,” explained Baur.

She takes Nikki out on a pontoon boat in the Fort Pierce Inlet for therapy and she dresses her wound everyday.

“There's a lot of blood involved in an injury like this and when she walks on her own it just bursts,” said Baur.

This afternoon, Humane Society veterinarian Matt Wallace amputated Nikki's leg to relieve her suffering.

“It's definitely in the top tiers of what you would consider animal cruelty or neglect,” said Dr. Wallace.

Now her former owner Genita Hegepeth faces animal cruelty charges.

Detectives are investigating how Nikki's paw got this way and how long the dog, as young as 8-months-old, has been suffering.

“Highly suspicious this dog was tied down for some time and eventually blood flow was cut off to the foot,” said Dr. Wallace.

Veterinarians expect Nikki to gain full mobility in the next week or two. She'll be ready for a forever home in several weeks.

For more information about adopting Nikki call David Lynch at (772) 801-8564 and visit