In the Community
Out of the Pit: A former dog-fighting bait dog who had his teeth filed down to nubs gets a new start in a loving home.
Cowboy is all smiles now, but just a few months ago, he was anything but.
One evening in June 2011, an anonymous woman picked up an emaciated, scarred, sick-looking dog lost alongside the road near Columbia, S.C. To calm the pit bull’s nerves – and occupy his jaws while she temporarily cared for him at her home – she presented the dog with a tennis ball.
“Cowboy was manic about that tennis ball. Not just any tennis ball – that tennis ball,” recalls Jane Brundage, co-founder of PETS Inc., a 20-year-old rescue organization based in South Carolina’s capital that eventually took in the dog. “He would put the ball down to drink or eat, but he wouldn’t take his eyes off it. He would have gone over a cliff for that tennis ball because it was the only thing he ever had.”
A few days after his discovery, when the good Samaritan delivered Cowboy to PETS Inc.’s 13-acre facility in West Columbia, Brundage performed her usual intake assessment. She observed the dog’s demeanor and inspected his skin and coat.
“He was weak, full of parasites, dehydrated and malnourished,” Brundage says. “His skin and coat looked awful, he had scars around his neck from being chained and his ears were infected. It was hard to tell how old he was, so I lifted up his lip.”
That’s when Brundage saw that the dog had no teeth.
Based on his condition, Brundage could only assume that Cowboy was a bait dog, a submissive animal used to train fighting dogs.
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