When Bill Daly first met his German shepherd Honey three years ago, he knew they were meant to be. Daly needed a new friend after his previous pet died, and he liked taking in dogs from shelters.
They’re loyal animals, he said.
Ragged and half-starved, Honey had led a star-crossed life (unfortunately, she would suffer again two years later when Daly's neighbor ).
But Daly saw past all that.
"Normally I don’t connect with a dog very quickly," he said. "But when I met with Honey I knew that I would choose her."
He had his work cut out for him. Honey's previous owner had neglected her. The dog's coat was filthy. Her ribs were showing. She weighed 45 pounds. The shelter had planned to put Honey down the next day.
"She stunk," Daly said. "I gave her a bath three times and the dirt was still coming off. When I came home the next day, there was hair everywhere and she was shedding a lot. That night I brushed her off and the hair was still coming out of her coat."
He fed her three or four times a day to start, and now Honey is about 85 pounds.
Since nursing her back to health, Daly and Honey formed a fond friendship. But there was one problem Honey brought into the house—and the neighborhood: She barked at anything.
"At first when I brought her home, I’d let her go around front and she would just bark at everything," Daly said. "Then I had to keep her in the back so she wouldn’t bark at everything. If she can’t see it, she can’t bark at it."
Daly wasn’t the only one irritated by the noise. Neighbor Michael Patterson, 52, was getting angrier and angrier at the dog’s din.
"I got a call one day when I was at work and it was my neighbor," Daly said. "He said that someone was over at my house beating up my dog."
Daly rushed to his car and sped home. As he drove, Honey was fighting for her life.
Patterson, who was sentenced to 180 days in jail last week, had entered the house after kicking in the front door. He chased after Honey with a metal rake and bashed her skull multiple times, Daly said.
"The wound he made on the top of her head looked like a bullet grazed her," he said. "He never confronted me about it or anything."
When law enforcement arrived, Honey was upstairs, trying to hide from the irate Patterson.
"When I came home around 2:30 p.m., my entire house was taped off by the (Orange County) Sheriff’s Department," Daly said. "It looked like a homicide. There were blood trails all over the house and I asked to see my dog. The deputies told me she was at the hospital."
Frightened for Honey’s life, Daly rushed to Alicia Pet Care Center. Her veterinarian, Matthew Wheaton, worked hard to save her.
"He tried to stimulate her right eye to make her vision come back," said Daly. "But it didn’t work."
Ever since, Honey has been blind in that eye.
Daly brought Honey home that day, happy she hadn’t been killed.
Looking at her today, a guest wouldn’t notice any problems with Honey at first glance. But upon further inspection, the damage from the relentless assault comes into focus.
"She’s a good dog," Daly said. "I don’t know why anyone would ever do such a thing. What’s strange about everything is that it happened nearly two years to the day [after] my previous dog died."