Shelter official: Dog possible victim of illegal fighting

(Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter Facebook page)

BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH/AP) — The head of the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter in Branford says a dog that was dropped off at the facility may have been injured in an illegal organized dog fighting operation.

Workers there examined the dog’s wounds and believe it may have been used as “bait” for other fighting animals — in other words — as a “bait dog”. They also say they believe the dog’s feet had been tied together.

The dog was dropped off at the shelter on Wednesday. The person who dropped him off said the dog was found on a local street.

The dog, which has now been named “Freedom”, underwent surgery at a veterinary hospital. Workers posted new pictures on the shelter’s Facebook page late in the day that show “Freedom” is doing much better. In their post they said: “He was actually wagging his tail and looking like a happy boy!”

Freedom’s specific breed and other information were not immediately known.

What happened to “Freedom” prompted News 8 to look into dog fighting here in Connecticut. Glorianne Lagnese says it is a problem.

“We were walking down the street (in Hartford) with a dog named Bailey and he’s a Bully so he looked like a tough dog and a group stopped and asked us if fought him and I was so mad,” Lagnese said.

Lagnese runs Super Paws Rescue, Inc. She says she has insight into this problem because she has taken in several dogs that have been injured in dog fighting rings.

“When we take them in they usually have scars or holes — open wounds,” she said.

She showed us a picture of an injured dog named Lucy.

“You see these holes here — that’s where bites were and the fur is never going to grow back,” she said.

Langese says she’s found a safe, new home for Lucy. But, she says it takes a long time for these dogs to heal from psychological scars we cannot see.

“It takes months,” she said. “Some of them will never recover.”

She also says it isn’t easy for her to get over abuse and mistreatment like what happened to “Freedom” in Branford.

“Disgusting,” she said. “I hope the dog makes it and they find the people who did it.”