Tippy is a 60-pound, black lab mix with a sweet temperament and a fondness for afternoon naps. He's house-trained, loves watching squirrels and snuggling.
And he's survived a beating with a wooden baseball bat.
Eagan police are investigating an apparent animal cruelty case that took place Sept. 27 at a boat landing underneath the Cedar Avenue Bridge at the border of Eagan and Burnsville.
An Eagan officer on a routine patrol in the isolated area came across a Bloomington resident at the landing at 12:30 a.m., according to Eagan Police Sgt. Jennifer Wills.
Because the park area is prone to vandalism and poaching, Wills said, and the man was at the landing after the posted closing time, the officer approached the individual and spoke with him.
During the conversation, the officer allegedly heard some rustling in nearby bushes. That's when police discovered Tippy, lying on the ground next to a wooden baseball bat.
At that point, police questioned the man and took him into custody, Wills said. The dog, named Tippy by officers, was transported to Pilot Knob Animal Hospital, where he was treated for bruising and a large goose egg on his head, Wills said. It appears the animal was struck at least once in the head, Wills said.
Formal criminal charges have yet to be filed against the Bloomington man. Burnsville City Attorney Joel Jamnik is reviewing the case, Wills said.
Wills declined to say whether the man arrested in connection with the case intended to kill Tippy.
"He clearly hit the dog with a baseball bat; as far as his intent to kill the dog, I couldn’t tell you," Wills said.
After his treatment, Tippy was taken under the wing of Second Hand Hounds, an animal rescue group. The dog is currently staying at a foster home, and Second Hand has already received more than 40 adoption offers, according to Second Hand Hounds Director Rachel Mairose.
Although Tippy is a "sweet and resilient" dog, Mairose said, many abused animals bear physical and psychological scars from the abuse.
"Animals are extremely adjustable and forgiving, but dogs can develop fears of objects, situations, sounds, etc. due to animal abuse," Mairose said. "Tippy might have a newfound fear of bats, or be wary of men for the rest of his life."
Second Hand plans to take its time selecting a new owner for Tippy, and will place him with an owner that has experience dealing with dogs with "fear issues", Mairose said.
Mairose said she was "shocked" to hear about Tippy's animal cruelty case.
"We immediately wanted to know what we could do to help this poor guy. I would hope most people would realize there are alternatives for "getting rid" of your dogs. Many rescues and shelters are willing to take in dogs. There is never a need to use physical violence on an animal."