Many of you may recall the story of Charlotte, a tiny Maltese/Shih Tzu who garnered national attention last fall when she was severely injured and left for dead in Staten Island, New York. The alleged abuser’s court case is still pending, but fortunately, Charlotte’s future is not. Here is a happy update on her story.
Charlotte was discovered in a trash bag near the Staten Island train tracks in September, 2014. According to allegations in court documents, her previous owner told police that she couldn’t afford to care for Charlotte, so she put her in the bag and threw her out of her car window. Charlotte was severely injured during the ordeal, and when she arrived at the ASPCA Animal Hospital she was in critical condition. At the time, she was less than four months old.
During her six-week stay at the hospital, Charlotte received treatment for a fractured skull, a fractured femur and brain trauma resulting from the blunt-force impact. Though public outrage surrounding the case was high, our primary goal was to help Charlotte heal and—most importantly—to place her into a safe home where she could receive the attention, love and care that she so dearly deserved. Fortunately, on November 1, we found that home in the form of an adopter named Dava.
After the adoption, Dava’s first priority was to help Charlotte forget her painful past. In addition to the new home, she decided to give the tiny snow-white dog a new name: Pip. “She’s quite happy,” Dava said in an update a few months later. “She is doing great and is completely a part of the family.” Although Pip does have some lingering issues from her brain injury, Dava is more than happy to help manage them and the petite pup is currently undergoing further testing. “She has gotten a lot bigger and is full of energy and personality,” Dava adds proudly. “We adore her, and we’re so glad that we adopted her.”
Although the case against Pip’s alleged abuser is still pending—in October, she pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals, misdemeanor counts of torturing and injuring animals, and animal abandonment—we are beyond thrilled that Pip is recovering physically and emotionally in Dava’s home. Whatever the verdict may be, we know that the Pip’s happiness is the greatest outcome of all.
In honor of National Dog Fighting Awareness Day on April 8, we are bringing you the inspiring story of a black Lab who was rescued from this horrific form of cruelty—and who went on to become a beloved family pet.
Nancy and Rick C. were making dinner plans one November evening in 2013 when they got a phone call from Charleston Animal Society (CAS).
“They asked if we’d be willing to foster a dog seized in an animal-fighting case,” says Nancy. Without hesitation, they packed up Buddy, their three-year-old black Lab, and headed to the shelter for a meet-and-greet.
The dog, an 11-year-old male Labrador/Shepherd mix, was known only as No. 205. He took to the sweet-tempered Buddy instantly, so Nancy and Rick took both dogs to their favorite restaurant—one with a popular dog patio—and ordered a basket of sweet potato fries to share with their new foster.
Dog patios and sweet potato fries were a world away from the life No. 205 had previously known: living in a filthy, wire pen in the middle of a sun-baked yard where dogs were chained and trained to fight. When No. 205 was rescued, his fur was missing in patches and he tested positive for heartworm and tick-borne diseases. He was also underweight and had no access to fresh food or water. His silvery-gray muzzle made it clear that he’d spent most of his life trapped in that terrible place.
“His name is Silver, but I also call him Silver Bear,” Nancy says lovingly. After fostering Silver for nearly a year, she and Rick adopted him.
Though Silver seemed eager to forget his painful past, it was clear that the senior dog had been through a lot in the first decade of his life. “At times he would cower—like he had been kicked or mistreated, or grabbed by his collar—but he’s much more confident now,” says Rick, who takes Silver on long walks at a nearby park. Silver also enjoys the couple’s lake house a few hours away, where he chases ducks and revels in new smells, along with Buddy.
“His past is still with him,” says Nancy. “But the bottom line is we love him.”
Aldwin Roman, Director of Anti-Cruelty and Outreach for CAS, says that all 12 of the dogs transported by the ASPCA to CAS following the raid have been adopted—some, like Silver, by their foster families.
In the past two years, Silver has settled in to his happy new life. An oversized, stuffed red chair is his favorite spot for lounging, and he’s the only dog ever allowed to sleep on Rick and Nancy’s bed.
“He’ll lie in the sun sometimes, wander just a little in the backyard, and then come back inside,” Nancy says. Now weighing 60 lbs.—up from 45 when he was rescued—he gets a daily dose of fish oil to keep his silvery-black coat shiny.
“We are just so happy he found us; he’s brought us great joy,” Nancy says, adding that although the first part of Silver’s life was torturous, “We want his last years to be his best.”
Moises Cruz, 71, and Manuel Cruz, 60, both received sentences of nine months jail, a $1,500 fine and were required to sign an Animal Non Possess Order which indicates that they may not posses any animals nor work, live, or stay in any place where a live animal is kept.
“Cockfighting is a cruel, abusive and barbaric practice. It tortures animals, endangers the health and safety of our communities and is known to facilitate other crimes” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We are holding accountable those who raised animals for illegal sport, operated illegal gambling venues and trafficked fighting animals to New York City. My office, along with our partners in law enforcement and animal welfare, are committed to ending this vicious blood sport in New York.”
“Operation Angry Birds,” as the raid was known, resulted in the dismantling of the largest known cockfighting ring in New York State history. The birds, including roosters and hens, were found to be boarded in deplorable conditions and were transported to cockfighting events throughout the region. Moises and Manuel Cruz are among ten defendants who have pleaded guilty in the case.
Two adult dogs and three puppies are under the care of the ASPCA following cruelty arrests by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in the Bronx. The officers were responding to a call reporting a domestic dispute, and when they arrived at the apartment, they noticed that the five pit bull mixes appeared malnourished and sick. The officers noted an absence of water dishes or food for the dogs within the apartment. Both residents were arrested and charged with animal cruelty.
The ASPCA is caring for the dogs at our Animal Hospital and at one of our partner veterinary facilities, where they’re receiving medical treatment for malnourishment. It is too soon to discuss eventual adoption options.
"This case clearly illustrates the impact that the NYPD-ASPCA partnership is having on the city's most vulnerable animals," said Howard Lawrence, Senior Director, ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Group. "While in the course of their normal duties, the Bronx officers were able to identify and stop animal suffering that might otherwise have never been reported."
Both owners of the facility were detained Wednesday morning and cruelty charges are expected to follow. Law enforcement also discovered illegal drugs and nearly $20,000 in cash on the property. This operation is the result of an investigation prompted by numerous complaints about conditions at the breeding facility. Several dogs acquired from the facility were discovered to be severely ill soon after purchase.
We’ve established a temporary shelter where the dogs will receive veterinary exams and care along with behavioral enrichment from the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior team. The ASPCA forensics team is also collecting and analyzing forensic evidence. Our new Medical Animal Surgical Hospital (MASH)—a custom-built, mobile medical unit—will allow veterinarians to provide critical care to dogs on-site.