A dog found in York City and believed to be involved in dogfighting was recovering Monday night from undergoing surgery to address her wounds.
Honey, a 2- to 3-year-old pit bull, was found by animal control officers late Friday night and turned over to the York County SPCA Saturday morning, said Melissa Smith, executive director of the SPCA.
The young dog had injuries to her head, face and legs. A wound to her face left a 2-inch section of her jaw bone exposed where the skin has been ripped away, said Zella Anderson, founder and director of the Central Pennsylvania Animal Alliance.
"The bite wounds indicate she was in a dogfight," Smith said.
A SPCA veterinarian determined the wounds were severely infected and likely happened a couple days ago, Anderson said.
The CPAA, a Mechanicsburg-based all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that works to save the lives of cats and dogs, was alerted to the dog because of the severity of her wounds, she said.
Surgery: Honey was taken to the Animal Emergency and Referral Center of York in Spring Garden Township for treatment and underwent an operation Monday afternoon, said Dr. Tara Rabuffo.
"I basically reconstructed her whole face," she said.
A feeding tube was also inserted during the surgery.
Because of Honey's facial injury, it's unlikely she'll ever be able to open her mouth all the way ever again, Rabuffo said.
Additional surgeries will likely have to be done further down the road, including a skin graft that's estimated to cost $6,500, Anderson said.
The next few months will be difficult for Honey as she recovers, but if she can beat an infection, she will likely be a typical dog again, Rabuffo said.
"I think she'll fully recover," she said.
Dogfight: While the circumstance surrounding Honey's injuries aren't clear, they do indicate she was involved in illegal dogfighting, Anderson said.
Scar tissue on the dog indicate she had previous injuries that healed, Rabuffo said.
"The injuries that she has are consistent with dogfighting," Anderson said.
Considering Honey's calm demeanor, Anderson said she believes the dog served as a bait dog.
Bait dogs are used to train fighting dogs and are often abandoned when they are too injured or are no longer needed, she said.
"There is no question dogfighting is a serious problem in central Pennsylvania, and it deserves serious attention from law enforcement," she said.
The CPAA started an Anti-Dogfighting Task Force in an effort to stop dogfighting.
Second dog: Honey is the second suspected bait dog found in York City to be helped by both the local SPCA and CPAA so far this year.
In February, the SPCA rescued and treated Julep, who was found near death by a Dumpster. A deceased dog was found nearby.
The SPCA provided much of her initial care, but CPAA stepped in to help when Julep was diagnosed with a disease common among fighting dogs.
Julep is now healthy and in a new home.
Home needed: Anderson said she hopes Honey's story also has a happy ending. CPAA is currently looking for a foster home for the dog.
The ideal foster owner would be home during the day to tend to Honey since the feeding tube will remain in place for several months and she'll have to be fed every three hours, Anderson said.
CPAA is also asking for the public's help to cover some or all of Honey's medical expenses and to help put a stop to dogfighting.
"We need the community's help to pay for her extensive medical care, but even more so, we need people to open their eyes to the growing problem of dogfighting and work together to put a stop to it," Anderson said.
-- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.