Nonprofit suspects dog dumped at Palo Alto animal shelter used for dog-fighting

A bulldog-pitbull mix is on the mend after he was found brutally attacked and dumped at the Palo Alto Animal Shelter. Staff worry the dog may have been part of a dog-fighting ring and used as a "bait" dog. Palo Alto Animal Control is investigating the case.

Staff at the Palo Alto shelter found the dog crammed in a crate. He was left overnight at the front door late last month. 

“He couldn't walk,” said Rachel Meisels of the Pets In Need nonprofit that runs the shelter. “He couldn't stand. He was very weak at that point.”

Rushed to an emergency vet clinic for treatment, the one-year-old bulldog-pitbull mix had an estimated 20 to 30 puncture wounds.

“He had obviously been in a dog fight of some sort,” said Al Mollica, executive director of Pets In Need. “He had puncture wounds on his neck, on his arms, his face.”

Mollica said the vet clinic indicated “Baby” as the nonprofit named him may have been part of dog-fighting ring.

“Dog-fighting rings will train dogs to attack and go to the throat,” said Mollica.

Many of Baby’s wounds were found in the neck area and Mollica said it appears Baby may have been attacked by more than one dog and perhaps for a long period of time.

“He looked an awful lot like some of the bait dogs I saw back east when I was running a shelter back east,” said Mollica.

“This is probably the most severe case of an animal dumped at our shelter that I’ve witnessed,” said Palo Alto Animal Control Officer Cody Macartney. “I’ve been there for 18 years.”

Macartney said they've found no evidence of an organized ring so far but aren’t ruling anything out.

On Thursday, Baby had visible scars and is still healing but behavioral specialists said he's showed no signs of pain and his temperament is good.

“It’s amazing to see that a dog that has been placed in a situation like this bounces back so quickly,” said Anamarie Johnson of Pets In Need.

Staff are amazed at his resiliency and believe there won't be any repercussions from the trauma.

“Most people, most animals would be traumatized by something like that,” said Mollica. “He’s just got the sweetest disposition in the world.”

Palo Alto Animal Control has set up a tip line for information at (650) 838-2807.

The shelter is equipped with cameras. They captured two men dumping the dog right after staff left for the night. Signs are posted in the front that state abandoning a dog is illegal.

Those responsible could face animal cruelty charges.

Those interested in adopting Baby could do so at the end of the month.