Axe-Wounded Bait Dog Rescued and Recovering

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In Thousand Palms, California, a meek, two-year-old pit bull named Capone is on the road to recovery after he was found wandering near an interstate with serious wounds to his head.

It was evident that he was being used as a bait dog – he was emaciated, his muzzle was taped shut and there were festering bite wounds on his face.  When he was no longer useful, someone took an axe or machete to his skull and left him for dead.

“What I saw was probably the most horrific thing that I have seen in the time I’ve been working there,” said Animal Samaritans’ Michelle Bergeron.  “His head had been completely split open in the center.”

Despite this grim scenario, Capone has a fighting chance at survival and to find a happy home to be part of.  It was expected that he may be too badly traumatized to rehabilitate, but Bergeron was in for a surprise when she inspected him.

“The second I walked back there and I saw him, he stood up and he looked up at me, and his little tail was wagging,” Bergeron said.  “He gave me the biggest, wet, sloppy kiss.”

Needless to say, Capone passed the test.  He was sent to It’s the Pits, a San Diego-based animal rescue group, where he is receiving medical care and is doing well “on the road to recovery.”  The Animal Samaritans staff are planning to visit him once he’s cleared for adoption.

Meanwhile, the shelter asks anyone who suspects dog abuse to please call police or the Coachella Valley branch of Riverside County Animal Services at (760) 343-3644.

“Only Capone knows who did it to him.” Bergeron said.  “It’s very hard to follow the trail unless people report what they’re seeing.”




10 thoughts on “Axe-Wounded Bait Dog Rescued and Recovering”

  1. I have a question…for anyone please respond . I just lost my best friend of 14 years..Daisy Mae was my sweetie..Chocolate Cocker Spaniel. She was extremely active ,healthy and we were both so happy. The night before her grooming appointment we played tug o war. The morning before her grooming we played again. ONE hour after I brought her back from grooming she was shaking ,disoriented ,stumbling,falling,no appetite , wouldn’t drink..nauseated . I took her to the vet…they gave her a anti-nauseated shot. She felt better for a few hours..then back down…then she went from 0 – 100 in no time..She passed away with me lying beside her. I nursed through so much…and I lost. The groomer gave her a “MANDITORY” capstar. Daisy has slept with me for almost 15 years..when she had “1” flea I knew. I have used this popular grooming facility a lot. They had a new groomer. Do you think maybe she could have dropped her? Am i crazy for wanting to hire an attorney ? I feel as though I had a few good years left with her… I just feel helpless..So lost w/out her…it was only me and her for 10 of those last year. Am I just still in mourning and just need to get through it and move on?…

    • I definitely would speak to the owner of the facility. My dogs are always groomed at my vet. They always ask if they can treat them for fleas. I always tell them that I do it at home. One of my dogs sometimes gets nauseous after getting flea medicine. It is possible your dog had a reaction to the flea medicine. My experience has been that all of the groomers that I have dealt with have been great animal lovers and would not mistreat an animal. You definitely need to find out what happened so that it won’t happen to another pet…or for closure for yourself. I am so sorry for your loss!

    • Definitely get an attorney. And, if possible, get a necropsy on your pet done. It will show if there was trauma to your dear little baby that may lead to further investigation. I am so very sorry for your loss and encourage you to become aggressive in pursuing the truth to what happened to your pet.

    • Call an atty. There is no such thing as a “mandatory” Capstar and if there is, there shouldn’t be. Your poor Daisy was clearly poisoned and I am so very sorry for your loss.

      Daisy may have been getting older, but no dog goes from being happy and healthy in one hour to at death’s door the next. That groomer did something very wrong and I suspect she knows it. Don’t let too much time go by and most definitely speak to the owner.

      Your heart must be breaking.

    • The death of a much loved pet, especially one you have that long is devastating. It will take a long time to get over this loss and you will likely have a hole in your heart for the rest of your life. Try to remember the good things, the good times, and know that she lived a good life and was well loved. Someday you will heal enough that it will come time to get another dog to give a good life to. When that happens, I hope you look for a rescue that needs you, and know that Daisy would want that for you and for them.

      Unless you had a necropsy done there is little that you can do now. There is always the possibility that she had a stroke, or a reaction to some chemical in the grooming shop, or was even abused. But, I doubt the Capstar was the problem. (If any shop has such a flea infestation that Capstar is mandatory, then I would find another shop.) The fact that the symptoms started an hour after you picked her up removes the likelihood of abuse, and I would think that any kind of toxicity should have been picked up by the vet. If she seemed fine when you picked her up, and was okay for an hour, then it is very difficult to guess what may have happened.

      I would discuss this with the grooming shop owner and take a copy of the vet paperwork with you. (Be sure it describes in detail their assessment of her condition.) Your doing this may save the life of another dog if the owner is able to think through what happened that day and possibly remember anything out of the ordinary. As someone else mentioned, most groomers have that job because they love dogs. I’m saying abuse does not happen because I know it does! But, it is not likely, especially if the groomer is new and trying to impress the owner and keep their job.

      Unless you had a necropsy done, I would not waste time and $$ on an attorney.

      I am so sorry you lost your baby when you were looking forward to more good years.

  2. Poor baby! Thanks goodness he was found and rescued! Bless his heart for being so optimist after what happened to him. I pray that he will find a well-deserved home with a lot of TLC!

  3. I have been a dog groomer for 7 years….we have ALWAYS had to ask before treating animals for fleas due to allergies or the fact that might do their own treatment at home. Everyone has been right to say get a necropsy, without one their is no case. That business needs to change their “mandatory capstar” rule asap. Many dogs get stomach upset or allergic reactions to it and I would see to it that I took them for all they were worth if they killed my dog. I have never heard of such rules and ridiculousness is all the years I have groomed. I am deeply sorry for your loss :(. I hope justice is served.


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