In a case as sad as it is shocking, a 14-week-old Shih Tzu mix puppy named Jake was reportedly stolen from his yard in Crawford County, Michigan and sexually assaulted before he was found hours later huddled under a shrub.

Jake’s human companion Terri Lasby told 9&10 News, “When we woke up, we put the puppy outside briefly to go to the bathroom. Five minutes later, we look out. He’s lying on the porch, getting a little sun. We were planning on letting him in and he was gone.”

When they finally found him hiding in the shrub, Jake was covered in dirt and debris.

“We were bathing him and getting those sticks picked out of his fur. I started to spray the backside of him and he started crying, just yelping in pain.”

Obviously hurt, Jake refused to lift his tail. That’s when Terri knew something was wrong, and took the injured dog to the vet. Upon examination, the vet determined that Jake had been sexually assaulted.

“A sick person,” says Terri Lasby, Terri’s husband. “It’s terrible that anyone could do something like that to a little puppy.”

Jake was badly injured both mentally and physically. While he used to jump playfully around his human family’s feet, he withdrew and lost his playfulness.

Unfortunately, pet theft is more widespread than most people are aware of. In most cases, the dogs are taken and sold in a process called “pet flipping.” Other times they’re sold into dogfight training where they will be used as “bait,” and eventually killed and discarded. Some end up in puppy mills, forced to breed over and over until they’re “spent.” Others even end up in medical research, where they endure brutal and invasive experiments.

In an ideal world, we’d be able to let dogs (and cats) roam and play outdoors alone to their hearts content — but as Jake’s sad case proves, that is not the world we live in. Pet owners take note, and never leave your companion animals outdoors unattended.

Anyone with any information about Jake’s case please call the sheriff’s office at (989) 348-6341. Jake’s assailant must be caught to help prevent future crimes like this.