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Friday, January 11, 2008

Pit bull found battered to death

Philadelphia Daily News 215-854-5935
The battered body of a dead pit bull, stoned with chunks of concrete and bricks, was found hanging from a railing at an abandoned school at 27th and Huntingdon streets Tuesday.

The dog, an adult male, had been bashed so severely a Pennsylvania SPCA investigator said there was no way to tell whether the animal had been killed for losing a dogfight, for being too timid to fight, or for someone's amusement.

"The dog was tied so closely and tightly to the railing that he had no chance to get away from his tormentors," said the Pennsylvania SPCA's chief executive officer, Howard Nelson.

The gruesome brutality of the stoning of the animal has prompted the SPCA to offer a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of its killers.

A day after the discovery of the dead dog, police officers found two pit bull puppies dumped, alive, in a duffle bag, at 23rd and Westmoreland streets.

The puppies are being evaluated by SPCA veterinarians.

Is it open season on pit bulls?It seems it always is, says an investigator. Dogfighting, mostly by kids, happens all the time, in all parts of the city, said SPCA police officer Wayne Smith.

While the extent of the cruelty involved in the death of the dog is appalling, the dumping of dead pit bulls is not uncommon, said Smith, who is investigating.

"We get that all the time," he said. "They throw them in a bag, or they're dumped somewhere. Most of the time, it's pit bulls."

Four dead pit bulls were found dumped in two locations in Fairmount Park in August and September.

The bodies of two more pit bulls were found later in September near Philadelphia International Airport.

Investigators believe that all of those dogs were killed either during or after dogfights and, in one case, two bullet casings were found near the dogs' bodies.

A $3,000 reward, including $2,500 pledged by the Humane Society of the United States, was offered in the earlier dog dumpings, but SPCA spokeswoman Heather Redfern said those cases have not yet been solved.

Redfern said anyone with information on any of the cases can provide it through the organization's Web site, or by calling the shelter's main number, 215-426-6300, and asking to speak with an investigator.

Identities of the callers are kept confidential. *

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