Mistreated dog is on the road to recovery - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Mistreated dog is on the road to recovery

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Animal-welfare officials reached out to the public Friday for help identifying and locating whoever allowed a large friendly dog to starve nearly to death before being found wandering weakly through Logan Heights.

A man came across the emaciated cane corso, a breed also known as the Italian mastiff, last week and brought it to a county Department of Animal Services shelter on Gaines Street, DAS Director Dan DeSousa said.

Staffers at the facility initially feared the roughly 5-year-old dog, whom they soon dubbed Bruno, would not survive. His ribs and spine were protruding severely, and he weighed only about 63 pounds -- about 40 pounds less than a dog of his age and breed should weigh.

"There is absolutely no excuse for this poor dog to be in such horrific condition," DAS Director Dan DeSousa said. "Blood tests show nothing out of the ordinary to explain why this dog is so emaciated. The only reason left is that someone starved this dog."

Because Bruno is such a well-socialized animal, it was clear to shelter staffers that he was not a stray who had lived on the streets his entire life.

"He loves people," DeSousa said.

Under veterinary care, the abused dog has been gaining weight and currently tips the scale at about 73 pounds.

But feeling better has led to another problem for Bruno -- he has been wagging his tail so much that he has whacked it into things repeatedly, causing injuries. The appendage now is bandaged for protection, but it may have to be amputated if its condition does not improve, according to shelter officials.

If located, the dog's owner could face animal-cruelty charges, which could result in a maximum punishment of three years in prison, a fine up to $20,000 or a combination of both.

Though Bruno is still recovering from his life-threatening ordeal, the animal-services agency has begun taking applications for his adoption. Any interested party must fill out an application and submit it by close of business Wednesday at any of the county's three shelters or by emailing it to dasinfosdcounty.ca.gov.

Anyone who might be able to help identify the dog's owner was asked to call (619) 767-2740.

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