Case Snapshot
Case ID: 12872
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Thursday, Dec 27, 2007

County: Franklin

Disposition: Open

Suspect(s) Unknown - We need your help!

The North Country Animal Shelter in Malone gets a lot of calls about abandoned animals, but few as sad as the one they received two days after Christmas.

"On Thursday," said shelter Director Shirley Morton, "my assistant got a call stating someone had seen a blue crate on the side of Lower Shears Road in Malone."

Morton said the crate was off an embankment that was more than six feet deep. Shelter employee Penny Landry went to investigate and saw a small white pit bull trying to climb the embankment.

"The little dog was soaking wet," said Morton. "It had rained, and there had been some really wet snow that day. She was shivering; she could hardly walk."

Morton said Landry looked in the crate and saw a larger black pit bull with a white chest, also female, lying dead inside.

"The inside of the crate was full of dog feces," said Morton. "The little one was caked in it. The door had come unlatched somewhat, that's how the little one crawled out."

Landry picked up the six-month-old pit bull, carried her to her vehicle and brought her to the shelter. She came back with Morton and a rope, which they attached to the crate.

"She pushed and I pulled," said Morton, "and we got the crate over the embankment."

Morton said the surviving pitbull is being quarantined at the moment. They're not sure how the other dog died, and they want to make sure it wasn't from a disease the younger one could be carrying. Morton said that, if she is healthy, she will be put up for adoption after she is spayed.

"Once she was warmed up and fed," said Morton, "she was extremely hungry. She's coming around. She's got an excellent disposition. She didn't deserve what happened to her. She's very thin, but I think we found her in time. Thank God the passerby, seeing that crate where he didn't think it should be, called us right away."

Pit bulls have historically been popular as fighting dogs. The ancestors of today's pits were frequently trained to fight each other, or they were used in baiting sports, where they would be sent to attack a chained bull, bear or badger. Their name comes from the pits that these fights are held in. Dogfighting is illegal throughout the U.S., but there is still a sizeable dog-fighting subculture that was brought to national attention when a member of the National Football League, Atlanta Falcon's Michael Vick, was arrested earlier this year for his involvement in an interstate dogfighting ring. This has given the breed a reputation for aggression that has led to their being banned in some places. However, the pit bull has been a popular pet in America for hundreds of years, and Morton said this pit is gentle.

"She's great," said Morton. "She has no problem. The first afternoon she was here, she was nosying up to some of the cat kennels. She absolutely didn't show any signs of aggression."

Morton said the dog just wanted to play, but the cats weren't too keen on the idea.

"Now that she's cleaned up and comfortable," said Morton, "we'll take it from there. With the personality she has, I'm sure she'll make a great pet for someone who likes the breed."

Malone-based state police said the investigation is ongoing and they have no leads as of Monday afternoon. Abandoning an animal is a misdemeanor, punishable by a one-year imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Anyone who has any information should contact the state police at 483-5000.

If you have information on this case, please contact:
NY state police


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