Local News

Injured, abandoned pit bull used in dog fighting, officials say

Posted September 25, 2008 1:01 a.m. EDT
Updated September 26, 2008 1:07 p.m. EDT

— Animal Control officers believe that a severely injured pit bull mix had been left to die in southeast Raleigh after it was used for dog fighting.

Raleigh Animal Control Officer Stephanie Williams said she got a call from a woman who found the dog – who has been named "Hope" – wandering around her home.

"(I) knew immediately she was involved in a dog fight from the puncture wounds and type of injury to her face," Williams said. "It's the worst facial injury that I've seen before."

The dog is missing part of her nose and has scars all over her body.

(Warning: The video and slideshow contain some graphic images of the dog's injuries.)

Officials with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals agreed that the dog's injuries are consistent with those inflicted during dog fighting.

"Although the SPCA doesn't know the exact circumstances that this dog came from, it is clear that she was involved in some sort of dog fighting operation," Mondy Lamb, marketing director for the SPCA of Wake County, said.

"Breeding, fighting, she got past battle scars. ... She has had a rough life in the past."

Williams said that she is concerned about a growing problem of pit bulls being used in dog fighting and then abandoned in Raleigh.

"It happens too often where we find pit bulls that have been injured and dropped off in areas that they don't live there," Williams said.

The SPCA shelter in Garner has taken in Hope. Veterinarian Dr. Alice Hunsucker is treating the dog for infections related to her wounds.

Dr. Adam Birkenheuer, with North Carolina University's veterinary school, was expected to examine the dog Saturday.

"Her immediate health is of much more importance" than repairing the dog's looks, Lamb said, noting that infection is the imminent threat, and that Hope was also diagnosed with heartworms.

"We've got a horrible case of cruelty. We've got a really, really sweet dog that was clearly mistreated by people," Lamb said. "We say there are no bad dogs; there are just bad people, and this dog has been treated very badly."

Hope's personality quickly indicated that she might be a good case for rehabilitation, Lamb said.

"Remarkably, she was still friendly to people. She was upbeat; she was loving," Lamb said. "She was just in a lot of pain, and she was lethargic."

As soon as she is well enough, Hope will be placed in a foster home and put up for adoption.

"Right away, we could see that she had a really great disposition, loved people so much that it made us want to do anything we could to make sure she's got a second chance at a good home," Lamb said.

Williams said that many dogs like Hope do not get a second chance and urged people to report animals they think are being abused.