Pappy’s rescuers admit they’ll probably never know how long the scarred, starving mixed Labrador wandered the Dallas area with a festering paw and a jar on his head — let alone what horrors he knew before that.
Residents had seen the dog for at least a week before a small group managed to snare him on Monday. “We’ve gotta get him to a vet!” Maeleska Fletes recalled telling another rescuer after loading Pappy into her land cruiser. “I can smell the foot.”
On Wednesday, doctors at the Metro Paws clinic amputated part of the dog’s paw. It could have been much worse.
"This was not a random act of cruelty,” said Nancy, a vice president with Animal Allies of Texas. “That’s typically done to create a blood scent so the animal can be thrown into a fighting ring and used as a bait dog for training.”
Nancy asked not to print her last name because she fears the dog’s torturers. And she’s heard stories about those fight rings: blood-covered arenas hidden in homes you’d never suspect, sometimes homes full of children.
Did Pappy escape from a ring in Oak Cliff, or did someone dump him there from another city? All Nancy knows is he couldn’t have been a bait dog for long. He wouldn’t have lived.
“Someone said today they wish this dog could tell us his story,” she said. “In some ways I’m glad he can’t. It’s probably much worse than we can imagine.”
Fletes, a Dallas animal shelter commissioner, recalled tracking and catching Pappy with a few other dog lovers and local residents. He was terrified, but so weak he could barely run or fight.
“We just waited until he ran out of juice,” she said.