The ASPCA is now offering a $15,000 reward for any information in the case of a three-month-old pit bull puppy who was bound in a black bag and thrown out of a moving car.
The appalling case of animal abuse occurred last Saturday in Brentwood, Long Island.
Joey was found malnourished and struggling to breathe, and he suffered three broken neck vertebrae. The pup remains in critical
condition at the West Islip Emergency Veterinary Clinic, where he is being treated with Valium and morphine, Roy Gross, chief at the Suffolk County SPCA, told Metro.
Recovery may take months
Joey was lucky to survive the horrific fall, but the recovery time could
span three to four months, according to the chief of the clinic's
emergency department, Dr. Lynda Louden.
“He still is working through some major issues," said Gross. "Hopefully there’s no nerve damage, that way it will be able to regain movement in its legs.”
It's too soon to know it the dog will ever walk again, said Gross.
There has been an outpouring of both outrage and support for the abused puppy.
“Our secretaries had a difficult time answering some of the, over 100, phone calls — people crying and just really taken by this cruel act. It just goes to show the compassion that people have toward animals. These are people who consider their pets part of their family,” Gross said.
Joey likely used in dog fighting
Also distressing, upon examination of the puppy, bite marks were found
around the bottom area of his neck, markers that the puppy may have been
used as a bait dog by dog fighters.
"Joey was used as bait," Gross said. "The bite marks on his neck include very
fresh ones as well as older scar marks. The location of the marks
indicated that they were likely a result of submission acquired during a
"I think he was probably used as bait, or they were trying to start
fighting him and he wasn't good enough and that's why they discarded
him," Dr. Danielle Wharton, a veterinarian at the clinic, told Newsday earlier this week.
Bait dogs are ones that are abused to assert the other fighting dog’s
dominance and brute strength,
Gross explained. They can be shot at, stabbed, or thrown to a wall, just
to brutally assert dominance and strength and hype up the other
"What is just so sad is that pit bulls are actually really so sweet, and
very affectionate," Gross mentioned with a drop in his voice. "This
actually is why they are so vulnerable to being trained for fighting
sadly, because they are just so eager to please their masters …You can
make anything aggressive by starving and tormenting and then training
them through desperation."
"But I can almost assure you that he will make a great, loving dog if no nerve damage was suffered and he recovers," he added.
Dog fighting is a problem on Long Island, Gross lamented, and said the fights often take place in residential areas, and even by schools. The dog-fighting rings are usually accompanied by illegal guns, drug use and gambling.
But he soon followed with a surge of optimism: "From the feedback these past few days regarding Joey’s condition, it is clear that this will no longer be tolerated, at least not in Suffolk County, if I can say that much. Just the way the community has come together for this is proof of that."
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Suffolk County SPCA at 631-382-7722.