GULFPORT, MS - Travis the pit bull is recovering nicely at the Humane Society of South Mississippi. The animal was the victim of horrific abuse by someone who punctured his hind legs to insert metal clips, attached to a tether. The animal underwent surgery to remove the devices and is doing "remarkable" with his recovery.
A veterinarian who treated the dog calls it one of the most deliberate acts of cruelty she's ever seen. There's a $2500 reward offered for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for the cruelty.
"I'm very surprised at how comfortable he's become in just a short period of time with us. I think he's going to do great," said Dr. Jenny Morris, the veterinarian vet who treated Travis's hind leg punctures.
"That was a through and through hole. I mean, you saw the pictures," said Dr. Morris, pointing to the now healing hole through the animal's hind leg.
Disturbing pictures show the tethered metal clips someone inserted through the dogs left hind leg and right rear foot. The images sparked understandable outrage.
"It took me a couple of hours of taking care of him to stop being really angry. I mean really, really disgusted. So, I totally understand that reaction other people are having. We see a lot of cruelty cases that come in. Nothing so intentional. Certainly worse types of injuries, but nothing that was so blatantly malicious and intentional," said Dr. Morris.
Dr. Morris says it's not known if Travis may have been used for dog fighting. If so, she suspects he may have been a bait dog.
"Terminology for an animal that they use for fighting dogs to practice on. And those tethers might have been a way to keep him in one place," she explained.
"This is one of the most deliberate cases we've seen. And that's why HSUS [Humane Society of the United States] and Gulfport Police will be investigating this case. HSUS has offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the conviction of whoever has done this," said Jode' Braxton Hignight with the Humane Society of South Mississippi.
Travis's physical recovery from his injuries has been remarkable; he's in pretty good shape. But it will take a bit longer to recover from the emotional trauma caused by this cruelty.
"One of the wonderful things about dogs is they don't hold grudges for very long. So, he's starting to warm up to a lot of people. And I think he's going to do just fine," said the vet.