DETROIT (WJBK) - A beloved family pet appears to have been the target of a horrific crime.
Elbie, a 9-year-old English French Bulldog mix, was stolen from his home in Detroit near Rosa Parks and Chicago late Saturday afternoon.
His family searched frantically for days, putting up flyers and sharing Facebook posts.
Wednesday afternoon, they finally got the call that Elbie had been found -- but the good news stops there.
Elbie had been turned in to the Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society in Detroit with life-threatening injuries. After talking with the shelter, Elbie's owners believe he was targeted to be used as "bait" for illegal dog fighting.
"I had sort of heard rumors about dog fighting. That's kind of where my head went when I found out he was taken, to a really dark place, praying that's not what happened to him," says Amy Peterson. "So I was really shocked to learn, when we saw him today in the condition he was in, this is a reality. If you talk to anyone at the shelters ... they will tell you this is a real problem."
Elbie is slated to undergo several more surgeries as he fights to recover.
Police say two men in a white pick-up truck towing a blue dumpster on wheels was seen in the area that Saturday when Elbie was taken. Patterson describes the two suspects as white men, between 30-40 years old. One has longer hair, possibly in a pony tail.
She says the shelter has the same description of the people who dropped the dog off.
If you have any information, you're asked to call Detroit Police.
If you'd like to help the family with their emergency vet bills, you can make a donation via their GoFundMe account here.