Community voices support for rescued bait dog

A Massachusetts community has banded together in support of a young dog found injured on one of its streets Monday.

The Pit Bull puppy was found with telltale signs of being used as a bait dog.

A Leominster resident found the tan-colored Pit Bull Terrier in horrible condition; he was underweight, covered in fresh wounds on his head, shoulder, hind legs, right eye and swollen muzzle, and his skin was blanketed in patches of deep scars.

The resident contacted the town health inspector, Christopher Knuth, who serves as the local animal control contact. Knuth was initially cautious when he arrived on scene, unsure of how the dog would react. But the pup wagged his tail weakly when Knuth approached.

“He had lost a lot of blood,” Knuth says. “His right shoulder was damaged pretty severely.”

Knuth noticed the pup’s upper canine teeth were so loose they were nearly hanging from the dog’s swollen gum tissue.

“We think somebody may have tried to pry him off with a bite stick,” Knuth explains.

The injured dog was rushed to the Wachusett Animal Hospital in nearby Westminster for medical treatment.

“The dog was really abused,” Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella tells the Sentinel and Enterprise of the pup who has brought the entire community together. “It was a Pit Bull and it looked like it was in a number of fights.”

Because of the pup’s missing teeth, Petopia Animal Rescue co-founder Melissa Prescott believes the pup may have been used as a bait dog — a dog used to train other dogs in illegal dog fighting operations. She believes the fighting dog’s owner may have pulled the pup’s teeth to prevent the young Pit Bull from fighting back while being used as bait in the ring.

Mayor Mazzarella is hoping someone will come forward with more information about what happened to the pup. He asks that anyone with knowledge of the young dog’s origins, his abusers or if there is a local dog-fighting group in operation, speak up.

“I know Pit Bulls have a bad reputation, but it’s not fair,” Mayor Mazzarella insists.

News of the young Pit Bull’s condition and his rescue spread through the town quickly. Not long after the pup was brought in for veterinary treatment, Mayor Mazzarella’s office was flooded with calls from concerned Leominster residents, all wondering how they could help.

Some asked about contributing money to cover the dog’s medical bills. Two brothers called in and donated $1,000 each to a reward fund being offered for any information leading to the arrest of those responsible for abusing the puppy.

“They are committed to finding who did this,” Mayor Mazzarella explains.

Anyone with information should contact Mayor Mazzarella’s office at 978-534-7500 or visit the Leominster CrimeStoppers website.

Meanwhile, the pup is still recovering at Wachusett Animal Hospital and is said to be improving each day. While he is very loving with people, the young pup is still understandably wary of other dogs. Despite his past, Leominster residents are hopeful the dog will be able to find a good home soon.