Johannesburg - No one was sure if he would make it. When the American pitbull was rescued, he had multiple injuries, including a deep wound to his head, and the fear was that the vet would decide he had to be euthanised.
He had many other injuries - broken ribs, toes and tail, and a nasty wound to his eye.
His rescuers believe he was injured while being used as a “bait” dog, used to train illegal fighting dogs. He has yet to be given a name.
He was rescued during a raid in Atteridgeville, near Pretoria, in the early hours of December 5 by members of the National Council of SPCAs and the SAPS.
In the raid, eight suspected members of a dog-fighting syndicate were arrested and six dogs were rescued.
Now the former bait dog has not only survived the judgment of the vet, but is making remarkable progress. His wounds are healing, and his psychological scars are mending too, says the NSPCA.
Last weekend, NSPCA special investigator Wendy Willson saw him do something she didn’t expect him to do: he played with another dog. For days he had cowered away from other dogs.
“The change in him has been remarkable,” said Willson. “And does he love grass! He rolls in, eats it and can’t get enough of it.”
The raid was initiated after the NSPCA received video footage of what they believed was a bait dog being attacked by fighting dogs. The dog in the film had its muzzle taped up.
Further investigation revealed the dog was later killed when several fighting dogs were set on it.
The eight suspects arrested in the raid have been released pending further investigations.
Three of the dogs rescued on the night, the NSPCA now believe, may have been stolen, and they want to find their owners.
All three are bull terrier type dogs - one is black and white, the other two are tan and white.
“These dogs are well adjusted and happily interact with caregivers. They were obviously once well loved and cared for,” said Este Kotze, deputy chief executive of the NSPCA.
The three dogs were assessed by an animal behaviourist, who believes they were originally from loving homes.
The NSPCA believes that the dogs might have come from the Pretoria area.
Anyone who believes they may be the owner of the one of the dogs is asked to send an e-mail to marketing@nspca .co.za with positive identification markers, including a photograph of the dog, a detailed description and background information.
As for the former bait dog, he has been given the all clear by the vet, and he is expected in his new home by Christmas.
And soon he will be getting a new name.